LETTER: Pressing need for school places

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Currently under consideration, and being rushed through with indecent haste, is the Horsham District Planning Framework.

This plan plans to site a business park, over 2,750 houses and new schools in the area that currently is the strategic gap.

There is mention of a couple of primary schools, a special education facility and a secondary college. But, before even a house is built, we are told the earliest a secondary school would be available for local children is 2020.

There is a very pressing need for school places in Horsham, currently most primaries are full or nearly full and despite expansion, need outstrips demand.

The same applies equally to secondary schools, with the three Horsham schools almost at capacity.

Currently over 600 children are bussed from Southwater to Horsham, at a cost of £250,000 per annum.

So the logical place for a new secondary school is Southwater. This would also free up places at the Weald school in Billingshurst which currently admits children from south of Horsham.

This however, is not considered in the HDPF, and a new secondary school is planned for the flawed North Horsham development.

This 600 place school will not even be half built, let alone completed, by the time that 500 Horsham children will need a senior school place.

Indeed even in this current academic year, pupils from Horsham were forced into places at Crawley schools. It should be noted that these mostly require improvement according to their Ofsted reports.

In addition, a new school in North Horsham, if built, will be the designated place for pupils currently in Millais and Forest catchment areas as well as children from the more southerly part of Crawley.

North Horsham is definitely not the place for a new secondary school. It is isolated by at least five lanes of traffic and devoid of any community.

People of Horsham, you need to speak out.

KAREN BURGESS

(Con) Horsham district councillor for Holbrook East, Chart Way, Horsham

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