Parent of ex-pupil says change of school provisions may cause ‘the demise of Rydon’

A parent has criticised a decision to review the education provisions in Storrington and Steyning, claiming it has been prompted by rivalling schools.

The parent of a past pupil at Rydon Community College, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted the County Times after reading of West Sussex County Council’s intention to look into ‘a potential change to the age of transfer’ in Storrington and Steyning schools.

Concerned for the future of Rydon, a middle school that takes pupils from year six to year eight, the local resident said: “If the council were indeed approached it has to be by one or more of the First schools whose only interest would be to retain the year six pupils.

“I would suggest that a change to the age of transfer is not in the interest of the pupils in the Storrington catchment.”

He strongly believes that pupils in Rydon greatly benefit from specialist subject teachers in all areas of the curriculum, and the transition from a small primary to a school the size of Rydon has adequately prepared their children for the move to a secondary school.

He also explained that lack of funds, increasing birth rates and a law that states by 2013 young people must stay in education until 17, will also factor into the council’s review.

“Schools with sixth forms, The Weald and Steyning, will have to cater for more students putting pressure on already full schools.”

Worried that Rydon will be sacrificed, he believes that other schools in Storrington and Steyning will only support the council out of ‘self-interest’.

“Schools that have voiced their support for the consideration of a new pattern of education in the area are doing it out of self-interest, not in the best interests of the children’s education. There is no guarantee that Rydon will become a secondary school.”

The resident is now urging parents of current Rydon pupils and those of potential future pupils in the area to step forward and voice their opinions.

“We may also be fighting Heads and Chairs of Governors who to my knowledge have not consulted parents, it is to them we may yet owe the demise of Rydon.”