Expansion plans for county schools

West Sussex County Council has launched a major consultation on providing more primary school places across the north of the county and Mid Sussex to cope with rising pupil numbers due to a combination of a rapid increase in the birth rate and major new housing developments.

The consultation involves expanding 12 schools in the Hassocks, Haywards Heath, East Grinstead, Crawley, Horsham and Billingshurst areas.

They are - Hassocks Infants, Windmills Junior (also at Hassocks), St Lawrence CE Primary (Hurstpierpoint), Lindfield Primary (near Haywards Heath), Baldwin’s Hill Primary and Blackwell Primary in East Grinstead, Hilltop Primary and Seymour Primary in Crawley, Arunside and Heron Way Primaries in Horsham, and Wisborough Green near Billingshurst.

The proposals would see increased places becoming available from September 2013.

It is also proposed that Shelley Primary School in Broadbridge Heath is relocated and expanded but on a longer time scale to cater for families moving into the new homes being built to the south of the village. The consultation suggests this would be achieved in September 2017.

The proposals follow meetings with headteachers and governing bodies of the schools involved and the proposal to expand the Church of England maintained school, St Lawrence CE Primary, in Hurstpierpoint, is backed by the Diocese of Chichester.

Full details of all the proposals and a response form can be found on the County Council website at http://www.westsussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay. The closing date is Monday June 25.

The final decision on any changes will be made by Peter Griffiths, West Sussex Cabinet Member for Education and Schools.

In the consultation booklet, he says: “The area is served by a large number of highly regarded and successful schools in the primary sector. The County Council has been closely monitoring the number of children in these schools to make sure they can meet the demand for places”.

Peter said today: “I really hope there will be a good response from parents because their views will be very important in deciding if this is an appropriate way forward for their children and their local communities.”

If proposals are confirmed then planning applications would be submitted in the autumn of 2012, and building could commence on some projects by the end of the year.