30 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, March 19, 1982.

CONTINENTAL school hours came to the Horsham area as the week-long teachers’ dispute and ban on lunchtime supervision dragged on.

Staff and pupils at the Weald School, Billingshurst, switched hours on Tuesday to a starting time of 8.45am and a finishing time of 2pm. It was ‘the most practicable and workable of the options offered in the circumstances’, head teacher Geoffrey Lawes said.

Meanwhile, arrangements for children throughout the area next week remained uncertain, with executive committees of all the unions involved expected to meet today to decide whether to call off their action or make it an all-out strike.

Explaining the hours change, Mr Lawes said his school was in ‘a uniquely difficult situation’ because, out of a total of 1,525 pupils, more than 1,000 could not be expected to go home for lunch. “A small village such as Billingshurst is not entitled to be invaded by a large number of children trying to find food,” he said.

He accepted that the change meant that the children would have only two 15 minute breaks each day but he added that very little real education time was lost.

He said that the continental day was ‘a way of conducting a school which ought to be very seriously looked at’ and added that he saw it as a possible permanent arrangement at the Weald.

LEADING Horsham Conservatives have called on Horsham District Council to hold its major meetings in the evenings in future.

The call comes from the Horsham and Crawley Conservative Association which voted in favour of the move at its annual meeting.

Their action follows recent disenchantment with some actions of the Tory dominated district council, in particular the holding of secret meetings and lack of public consultation over major issues, such as the Capitol Theatre.

At the moment the majority of council and committee meetings are held during morning and afternoons when few members of the public can attend them.

However, there was no hint at the Tory meeting that members might be upset by recent decisions of the council. Ranks were closed, and vice-president Jack Leaman called it ‘the best debate we’ve ever had at an annual meeting’.

Countering suggestion of a rift in the constituency association over dissatisfaction with council members, outgoing chairman David Rodrigues said: “Neither Roger Taylor, new chairman, nor I are in any disagreement about the motion or the reasons behind it.”

A SCHEME to provide sheltered housing for elderly people in Henfield got underway this week.

Horsham District Council’s housing committee approved a scheme which involves infilling on three sites as part of the overall redevelopment of the Wantley Hill estate.

The scheme will now move on to the planning stage, during which the council could approve the demolition of up to ten existing houses on the pre-war estate.

However, existing tenants of these houses would then be moved into the modern homes which should be completed by next year.