Plans to expand two West Sussex Catholic schools

£2.5m plans to expand two Catholic schools in the county will be part of a consultation launched by West Sussex County Council, together with the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

The schools are St Joseph’s in Haywards Heath and St Richard’s, Chichester.

The schools are well established with a good track record of educational attainment. St Joseph’s has a good Ofsted rating, and St Richard’s is classified as outstanding.

Demand for Catholic primary schooling has been growing in both areas, and the schools are no longer large enough to cater for the rising number of children baptised in the area.

It is now proposed to expand the schools by 15 places per year of age each - creating a 420 place school at St Joseph’s and a 315 place school at St Richard’s.

This is in addition to the recent proposal to expand Bolnore Village Primary School in Haywards Heath where significant housing is due to be built over the coming years.

The county council says expanding these schools should alleviate pressure on neighbouring community schools and schools with a different denominational basis.

It is the intention for the building project to start in 2012 with a view to increasing the Published Admission Number with effect from 2013.

The cost of the work is estimated to be around £2.5m for the two projects.

A full statutory public consultation is required due to the nature of these particular expansions, being by more than 30 places and more than 25 per cent of the school capacity.

It is a two stage process - initially a public consultation takes place over four weeks of term time and then the Cabinet Member for Education and Schools, Peter Griffiths, will decide whether to publish statutory notices in local newspapers and comments can be made over a further four weeks.

If there is a decision to proceed, the statutory notices are expected to be published in April 2012 and a final decision taken in May.