Letter: Southwater school is needed

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FURTHER to articles about the free school proposal, it would seem that in the heat of the debate some common sense has been mislaid.

Of course it makes good sense to have a high school in Southwater. WSCC figures support it, environmental concerns support it, community concerns support it, and the welfare of the children of the village support it.

Until the possible expansion of the village became a serious proposition, most local residents supported it too, and some even campaigned for it.

If it makes such good sense who then wouldn’t support it? Well anyone who is concerned about development in the village might see it as making that inevitable.

Anyone leading a local high school who has plans for expansion (with attendant investment and potential salary increases) might see it as a threat to their plans.

Anyone leading a co-educational school where there is no other co-educational option might see it as unwelcome competition.

Anyone for whom oversubscribed feeder high schools and a status quo is just how they like it might see it as an iceberg on their horizon.

All of these are tongue in cheek, but they also have a little common sense too and maybe some truth.

It seems to this parent of four (two still at an excellent LA-run high school) that the two biggest factors are being overlooked. Firstly Southwater has needed a school for some time, the ‘pause’ has come and gone, it’s about time someone took action.

Secondly sustainable communities need facilities and this new school would bring other much-needed facilities to ‘the largest centre of population without its own high school in Sussex’, to quote WSCC. I humbly suggest that all vested interests aside, all fears about development removed, common sense says Southwater needs a school.

But in the final analysis the voices we should listen to is that of Southwater parents.

I hope that they will get the chance to make themselves heard before the Government’s deadline takes away their opportunity.

So far their voice is being drowned out by those with powerful communication systems, and they are being prevented from accessing information by those who could help them. What a shame!

The Rev BRIAN WHITE

Trafalgar Road, Horsham