Extra public meeting on proposals to reorganise Storrington area schools

March by parents before a drop-in meeting on consultation to reorganise Storrington area schools (photo by Jane Cooper) SUS-150716-173301001
March by parents before a drop-in meeting on consultation to reorganise Storrington area schools (photo by Jane Cooper) SUS-150716-173301001

An additional public meeting on proposals to reorganise schools in the Storrington area will be held in September.

West Sussex County Council is holding a consultation on the age of transfer affecting the Storrington Area Rural Schools (STARS).

Hundreds of parents, teachers and children attended a drop-in event earlier this month at Sullington Parish Hall, with many fearing that changes could lead to the closure of Rydon Community College.

However at the meeting councillors reassured parents that there was no reference to closing Rydon in any of the consultation documents.

Jeremy Hunt (Con, Chichester North), WSCC’s cabinet member for education and skills, explained that after changes came into effect in Worthing, Storrington would be the last area in West Sussex where pupils transferred schools right in the middle of their secondary education.

Philip Circus (Con, Storrington) asked Mr Hunt if he could confirm that they would be ‘listening very carefully’ to all the consultation’s comments so the ‘right decision is made for everyone, parents, teachers and children, in the Storrington area’.

Speaking at a Full Council meeting last Friday Mr Hunt replied: “It’s a consultation on the policy and I can confirm that no decisions have been taken on anything that is going to happen there.”

They would be organising a further information event for parents ‘who might not fully understand the ramifications of what is going on’.

Mr Hunt also said there was more information on the consultation website, including the reports and statistics for members of the public to have a look at.

After the drop-in meeting Rydon’s chair of governors Alan Brien spoke of his delight at the show of strength from parents and children, and said people wanted a ‘first class school that should be the pride of the community’.

He felt the county council should listen to parents who wanted Rydon to become a secondary school for 11-16-year-olds, if the authority settled on making sure all primary school pupils left at 11.

The schools involved in the consultation include Amberley Church of England First School, Ashington Church of England First School, Storrington First School, Thakeham First School, St Mary’s Church of England First School in Washington, West Chiltington Community School, and Rydon.

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