New Year meetings on church bid for school

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A SERIES of meetings have been planned for residents to learn more about a new ‘Free’ school planned for Southwater by Horsham Churches Together and Oasis Community Learning.

Part of the process of providing a secondary school for local children is consultation with a range of stakeholders and interested parties.

The next is on Thursday January 5 for Southwater Pre-School parents and Southwater Primary parents at the large council chamber, Beeson House, 26 Lintot Square, Southwater, from 7pm to 8pm.

Southwater Primary heads and governors have a meeting on January 9 from 6pm to 7pm at Southwater Leisure Centre meeting room, Pevensey Road, Southwater. The following day, on January 10, from 6.30pm to 7.30pm is a meeting for Horsham primary heads and governors at Brighton Road Baptist Church in Horsham.

Southwater public consultation is at the large council chamber, Beeson House, 26 Lintot Square, Southwater, on January 19 from 7pm to 8pm.

On January 30 from 6pm to 7pm at the Christian Life Centre, 51a East Street, Horsham, it is the turn of Horsham secondary heads and governors.

The County Times exclusively revealed how The Oasis Southwater Community School could be built in the village at a cost of about £25 million.

Horsham Churches Together is preparing an application for a Christian ethos school with its own chaplaincy for children aged 11 to 16 years with six forms of entry, taking 180 pupils a year.

It is also possible that the school would include its own sixth form, taking pupils up to A Level - but no decision has yet been taken and the idea has been ruled neither in nor out.

The organisation, representing 32 churches from across the denominations, is now working to identify a site and consulting with residents, particularly prospective parents of students, ready to submit its bid by February 24.

A meeting has already been held with Southwater Primary School parents.

If the application is accepted by the government and planning permission granted quickly, year seven students could be using the school in September 2014.

The school would be primarily for Southwater children but would have an open admissions policy and be inclusive of pupils from all backgrounds.

The inspiration for the scheme came from Southwater itself and the school would also provide a community hub.

Horsham Churches Together selected Oasis Community Learning as an education sponsor to submit the application and operate the school.

Visit www.OSCS.org.uk for the latest information and to check for any venue changes.