Plans to reorganise schools in the Storrington area have been given the go-ahead by the leader of West Sussex County Council.
The reorganisation will include the closure of Rydon Community College while the building will be used to house a second site of Steyning Grammar School and a new home for Thakeham School.
Councillor Louise Goldsmith announced the decision on Wednesday (May 4) and said it had “not been an easy decision to make”.
Endorsing the changes on behalf of Councillor Richard Burrett, cabinet member for education and skills, Mrs Goldsmith said the council had “listened very carefully” to all the opinions and arguments shared during two consultation periods.
She added: “Having weighed up all the information and fully discussed it with the cabinet member for education and skills, I strongly believe this reorganisation will offer an improved education to current and future generations and will protect them from the negative effects which occur when pupils transfer between different schools.”
The STARS area, as it is known, is the last in the county where schools are not organised in line with the Key Stages of the National Curriculum.
Pupils in the rest of the county, and most of the country, transfer to secondary schools at the end of Key Stage 2, aged 11, but STARS children transfer to middle school before going on to secondary school at 13.
During the consultation period, staff, governors and parents from Rydon, vehemently opposed the plan to close their school.
Mrs Goldsmith said: “It has been very apparent that local people have a strong affection for Rydon Community College and many fond memories. I totally respect that and know that some will be very disappointed. However, the important issues are the future needs of young people in the STARS area.”
The changes are due to come into effect for September 2017.
Councillors have until May 13 to ‘call in’ the decision for any future discussion. If they choose not to do so, an additional 28 days of consultation will begin.
A council spokesman said: “This represents a period in which anyone with any new and substantial information can come forward.”
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