Parents ‘devastated’ after children miss out on their choice of Horsham secondary schools

Thomas Bennett School, Crawley SUS-190403-112136001
Thomas Bennett School, Crawley SUS-190403-112136001

Parents across the Horsham area are up in arms after being told that their children are to miss out on their first choice of secondary school.

Some ‘devastated’ parents were told on Friday that their children are being allocated places at schools in Crawley next year - meaning many face a 28-mile round trip each day.

Dozens of parents in Southwater attended a meeting in the village on Saturday and letters have now gone out to Horsham MP Jeremy Quin seeking help. Many say their children have been left in tears.

Teacher Andrea Thomas has hit out at the ‘appalling way’ children have been allocated places. “The majority of Southwater children did not receive their catchment school and many did not even get a Horsham school instead being allocated Thomas Bennet in Crawley and The Weald in Billingshurst.

“The overall housing/school issue in Horsham is dire with so many new builds being authorised with no investment in the local infrastructure to support it and ensure all our children have a place in a Horsham school.

“However this year the situation is all the more appalling in terms of the blatant disregard of parental/child choice and the ambiguous catchment/postcode lines.

“None of this was indicated at the time of application, nor at any point following.”

Andrea, who teaches at a Horsham primary school, added: “Both parents and teachers were totally unprepared to counsel children once the emails had come out on Friday morning informing children of their secondary school allocation.

“It was devastating for all children and families concerned, many of whom were inconsolable.”

Many parents - some of whom did not get their first, second or third choice of school - say they will appeal to West Sussex County Council against the allocations. One Southwater mum said that around 70 per cent of her child’s year group had failed to get their preferred school choice.