Demand for school places in Adur set to rise, says parent group

A parent group is taking steps to tackle the '˜looming' shortage of secondary school places in Adur.

Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:25 pm
Members of Future Adur Schools Team meet Tim Loughton MP

Future Adur Schools Team (FAST) said that, due to the expansion of many primary schools in Shoreham in recent years, pressure has been building on local secondary school places.

The group believes this problem is now ‘coming to a head’ – with current year-five pupils at ‘the crest of the wave of expansion’.

By collecting data from primary schools across Shoreham, Southwick and Lancing, and comparing it with the number of secondary school places currently available in the district, FAST believes there will be a deficit of 211 secondary school places for current year-five pupils.

A spokesman for FAST said: “This is before the 3,000 or so new dwellings planned for Adur over the next ten years.”

The group described the current situation as ‘already stretched’, using the example of Shoreham Academy which, despite having a ten-form entry, was ‘significantly oversubscribed last year’.

FAST has resolved to confront the situation and recently met for discussions with MP Tim Loughton.

The group now proposes to co-host a meeting with key decision makers next year to facilitate ‘appropriate planning and provision to meet the need’, before holding a meeting with the public to discuss available options.

“One of the issues previously has been lack of foresight, resulting in last minute knee-jerk fixes,” the spokesman said.

“We are hoping that by highlighting the issue and the choices, we can ensure we all get the right school for our child.”

Options going forward could include parents looking for places at schools further afield such as Worthing or Portslade, the expansion of current schools or the opening of a new school, the spokesman said.

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “We recognise there is a concern locally regarding future capacity at the local schools.

“We make every effort to accurately predict the future demand on school places and are currently working with headteachers in the Shoreham area to regularly review the current and future provision.”