HEAD TEACHERS could be put in charge of two schools as the county authority tries to find ways to combat a demand for 1,800 extra primary school places across the county.
The school places will be needed to filled during a four year academic period, 2012/2013 to 20/15/2016 to meet rising demands, said a spokesman for East Sussex County Council.
No significant shortfalls of secondary school places were anticipated in the same period, added the County spokesman, who also said longer term extra secondary places would be needed in a ‘number of areas when the current wave of demand in the primary sector hits secondary schools’.
A County spokeswoman said: “We recognise the value of rural and village schools and are committed them remaining open in Wealden and Lewes districts.
“Our primary review policy recognises the financial challenges smaller schools face and gives school governors options to help ensure their future.
“They are increasingly opting for a model whereby an executive head teacher leads two schools with heads of school responsible for day to day management.
“The county is working with the National College of School Leadership to help support them with this alternative model.”
Wealden District Cllr David White, also chairman of Hellingly Parish Council, has been alarmed about the ‘adequacy primary school places in Hailsham’.
He called the potential shortfall in the county ‘very concerning’, adding: “ The need for additional places in Hailsham as a result of new developments has been known for several years. If therefore any of this shortage affects Hailsham those responsible should be asked to explain why they have failed to act before now. They should be ashamed of themselves.”
But Cllr White welcomed the reassurance from County that there were no plans to close rural schools in the region.
Cllr White said: “Apart from the stress to young children and the inconvenience to parents of not having a local school the village school remains at the heart of many rural communities - a place where parents get to meet and socialise with other parents.
“It is an essential part of the rural fabric in Wealden that makes it the nice place in which residents wish to live and bring up their families.”