Academy trust submits application to open school

Jonathan Morris, head of Warden Park Academy
Jonathan Morris, head of Warden Park Academy

An application to open a new primary school has been submitted to the Department for Education.

The Sussex Learning Trust (SLT), which runs Warden Park Academy and Primary Academy, wants to open the school in the Hurstwood Lane area of Haywards Heath by 2019.

The trust’s application, for an all-through primary school for children aged four to 11 was submitted via the national education charity New Schools Network on Wednesday (September 28).

If approved, it will be called Hurst Farm Primary Academy, and is one of several applications for academies and new schools submitted by various trusts to meet a predicted shortfall of school places in the area.

Jonathan Morris, who is chief executive officer of the SLT as well as headteacher at Warden Park, said: “The district plan for new housing means that there will be a shortfall of primary places in the Haywards Heath area and a new school will be required to meet this need.

“With Warden Park Primary Academy’s reputation growing day by day, and an excellent Ofsted report in 2015, the trust believes it is perfectly positioned to expand further.

“Our vision for Hurst Farm Primary Academy is built around science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and will include specialist facilities to deliver this exciting curriculum.”

Hurst Farm is among the 12th wave of applications for new free schools to be submitted to the Department for Education since 2011.

The next wave will be submitted in March 2017 and will include the SLT’s application to take over the Haywards Heath campus of Central Sussex College, when it closes in September 2017.

The application process included a 100-page form giving detailed education plans and budgets, as well as explaining why a new school was needed and demonstrating it had local support. If the application clears the first stage, a rigorous interview with the Department for Education will follow.

Sarah Pearson, of New Schools Network, said: “Sussex Learning Trust has worked tirelessly to prepare an application for the Department for Education and we hope they will have the chance to put their plans into action and see their vision of a fantastic new school realised.”

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