Worthing High School’s new performing arts centre given green light

Pan Panayiotou (headteacher), Worthing High School. Pic Steve Robards SR1803790
Pan Panayiotou (headteacher), Worthing High School. Pic Steve Robards SR1803790

Keep your eye on youngsters from Worthing High School over the coming years – you might be looking at future stars of stage and screen.

The school, in South Farm Road, Worthing, has had a planning application approved to demolish its old caretaker’s house and build a two-storey performing arts centre, where children will be taught music, dance and drama.

On Wednesday, Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee also approved plans to replace a single-storey block of classrooms with a two-storey block.

Head teacher Pan Panayiotou said the school was currently over-subscribed – and has been every year since 2015. The new block would allow it to increase its intake from 210 students per year to 240 from 2020.

A report to the committee said a bid for around £4million was being made to the government’s Condition Improvement Fund to pay for the development.

The performing arts are nothing new to youngsters at the school, who won five awards at the Global Rock Challenge in April.

The new centre would be used for school performances, assemblies and meetings as well as being opened for community events.

There was concern from some members about the proposed opening hours – up to 11pm Monday to Saturday and up to 10pm on Sundays – but the hours were allowed to stand.

One councillor also suggested that no construction work should be allowed on Saturday mornings.

Others, though, who had experience of the construction industry, pointed out that being allowed to work on Saturdays was often ‘vital’.

Some were also surprised that no one from the South Downs Education Trust, which runs the school, was present at the meeting. The meeting was, however, held during the half-term holiday.

Mr Panayiotou added: “The school is keen to grow and expand and the approval of the planning application will help strengthen Worthing High’s position in the local community.

“This centre will look to benefit how our curriculum grows in that area, where in other schools the arts have suffered a lot.

“Our view is that we’re looking for students to have a really good, well-balanced curriculum.”

The application will be officially approved by the head of planning services if no objections have been received by June 6.