School’s financial worries over proposed educational changes

Rydon Community College (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150914-135056008
Rydon Community College (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150914-135056008

A headteacher has warned her school would not be financially viable if plans to reform education in the area go ahead.

West Sussex County Council hopes to change the age students transfer to secondary school in the Storrington area to bring them in line with the rest of the county.

While most of the schools involved have supported the move, staff, parents and pupils at Rydon Community College have been vehement in their opposition. The college currently takes children aged 10-13. If the changes go ahead, the younger ones would return to primary school, leaving Rydon with only two year groups.

The college threw open its doors to the public on Saturday (September 12) to answer questions about the proposals and to show how much Rydon contributed to its community.

As well as those interested in the educational issues, the building was teeming with people taking part in keep fit sessions and a toddler group.

Visitors were greeted with a banner calling on the council to transform Rydon into a secondary school for 11-16-year-olds.

Headteacher Allison Murphy acknowledged the council’s insistence there were no plans to close Rydon, but said the proposed changes would mean a change of the “ethos and philosophy” at the college.

She added: “That would mean maybe the school being eroded. School budgets mean that you are given money for the amount of pupils you have and you have to be financially viable. If we become a two-year school, we won’t have that.”

A public consultation into the proposed changes will come to an end on Friday (September 18). A report published by the county council suggested there was little chance of Rydon’s secondary school hopes being realised.

While acknowledging the need to “retain secondary schooling on a sustainable basis”, the report stated there was “unlikely to be sufficient capital funding in the foreseeable future to create, for instance, a single secondary school on the Rydon Community College site”.

If approved, the age of transfer change will take place in September 2017. To take part in the consultation, log on to and search for ‘have your say’.

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