So the vote is in and by a margin of 51 per cent to 49 per cent the Worthing Town Facebook page voted for my beard to Leave in an even tighter re-run of the Brexit referendum.
So it was straight off to Tarik the Turkish barber in Dominion Road, East Worthing, for the closest shave I have had in a long time. There was no second referendum, no two-year implementation delay, no ifs, no buts, just taking back control of my jaw line.
Thanks to Tarik for a fantastic shave and to Councillor Paul Mansfield for recommending him and for all the comments on my Facebook page from constituents on something that bizarrely seems to have excited more interest on social media locally than anything the Government has done for some time. It’s a strange world.
On more weighty matters I am very pleased with the outcome of the mini-summit on school secondary places in Adur that I organised last week following concerns from parents about the availability of places at Shoreham Academy in particular, not east in the light of the substantial developments currently underway in the district. I brought together local councillors, secondary heads, education and planning officers from West Sussex and Adur and representatives of local parent groups at St Nic’s primary school.
Last year there was a particular problem with the outstanding Shoreham Academy being oversubscribed and parents who had Steyning Grammar as their second choice faced with an extended journey to the new Storrington campus. A lot of work has been happening behind the scenes and I am optimistic that there will not be a re-run of that scenario this year but in the longer term we do need to expand the number of paces available at existing schools including in Lancing and Worthing where traditionally Shoreham pupils have travelled in any case.
Whilst the easy answer on the face of it is just build an additional secondary school the figures do not suggest that it would be anything like full in the next 14 years and existing schools which do have capacity would suffer. There is also the problem of where to find space for it. All these factors together with the likely impact on incoming families on demanded are now being assessed and plans will be published in due course and we were all impressed by the assurances given by the new Director of Education Deborah Myers.
I was keen that local parents should be given as much information as possible about all the secondary choices available to their children and I am pleased to report that the County Local Committee will be holding just such a briefing for all Adur parents later in the year. I will report more in my next newsletter.
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