Find out about new Southwater school bid

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A CHAT over coffee is being offered to prospective parents hoping to find out about the possibility of a new secondary school in Southwater.

Horsham Churches Together has organised a series of coffee mornings next week so that parents or carers can learn the facts first hand and make an informed decision about their children’s future education.

Children are welcome at the meetings from 9am to 11am at:

* The Council Chamber, Beeson House, Lintot Square, on Monday.

* Easteds Barn, Easteds Lane, on Tuesday.

* The Council Chamber, Beeson House, Lintot Square, on Wednesday.

* The Council Chamber, Beeson House, Lintot Square, on Thursday.

This stage of the Free School process is about establishing if parents would like a school and if there is a need for one.

West Sussex County Council has stated there is and that action is needed now.

If the Department for Education agrees this application should go to the next stage, detailed consultation will follow.

Parents of children now in years three and four must indicate an intent to take up 50 per cent of the places for the year seven intake in 2014 and 2015.

It they do, an application for the school can be submitted to the Department for Education, otherwise it cannot.

The new secondary Free School would be called The Oasis Southwater Community School and would cost about £25million to build.

It would have a Christian ethos, its own chaplaincy and provide a community hub.

Children aged 11 to 16 years would be catered for with six forms of entry, taking 180 pupils a year, although parents’ views are being considered about a sixth form.

Horsham Churches Together and education provider Oasis Community Learning need to submit a bid by February 24 and 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.

One possible site has been identified by Berkeley Homes and another option has to be put forward for the government to decide on the location if the bid is successful.

Oasis Community Learning has delivered 14 schools to date.