Playing field opposite Haywards Heath College to be upgraded

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Work will begin this month to upgrade the playing field opposite Haywards Heath College.

The project, which is being funded by the Chichester College Group (CCG), will create an improved facility that can be used by college students as well as pupils from Harlands Primary School and the community.

Ben Frier, vice principal at Haywards Heath College, said: “We are very keen that the land is used for as much sport as possible, both for the college and for Harlands Primary School, as developing close links with our local community and schools is of the utmost importance to us.

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“I love the idea of our students working with the children of Harlands Primary School as role models, whether that be in developing coaching, leadership and teambuilding skills, or gaining work experience; something I think will be of great value to all involved.

Ben Frier, vice principal of Haywards Heath College and David McKeown-Webster, acting headteacher of Harlands Primary SchoolBen Frier, vice principal of Haywards Heath College and David McKeown-Webster, acting headteacher of Harlands Primary School
Ben Frier, vice principal of Haywards Heath College and David McKeown-Webster, acting headteacher of Harlands Primary School

“We are really excited by the opportunities that may present themselves, from sharing the space with Harlands to embedding the college as part of the wider broader community.”

Haywards Heath College in Harlands Road will reopen this September, after it closed four years ago due to debts of £25m, costing more than a dozen jobs.

There was a huge outcry when the college closed, especially because the state-of-the-art building only opened in 2013.

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Its reopening was very much a team effort, with the government, the college group, Mid Sussex District Council, West Sussex County Council and the LEP working together to get things done.

Haywards Heath College. Photo by Derek Martin PhotographyHaywards Heath College. Photo by Derek Martin Photography
Haywards Heath College. Photo by Derek Martin Photography
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The playing field adjacent to the college has been an underutilised resource due to the lack of sufficient drainage, resulting in the area being waterlogged during the winter months.

Work will begin this month to upgrade the drainage, allowing greater use of the field for sports activities.

Once completed, the field will be ready to use from spring 2021. It will be home to a full-size rugby and football pitch, a smaller pitch, and cricket pitch with new artificial wicket.

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A spokesman for the college said: “This new facility will offer the first year of college students the opportunity to participate in sports, either as part of their A-level course, as a member of a college sport academies or for a Duke of Edinburgh qualification.

“Nearby Harlands Primary School will continue to have access to the playing field, giving their pupils the chance to participate in cricket, football, rugby, sports days and cross-country events.

“Future plans at the college will include ensuring the community is able to use the college’s theatre, sports hall and playing field. An option to develop a Forest School on the playing field is also being considered.

“The college will open to its newly recruited staff from the beginning of August, with students due to arrive for their enrolment and induction from Monday, September 7.”

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David McKeown-Webster, acting headteacher at Harlands Primary School, added: “Generations of Harlands pupils have benefited hugely from the shared playing field over the years, and we are thrilled that the new owners of the college are investing in the facility to make these improvements.

“We very much look forward to seeing our children enjoy them, alongside the college students and the wider community.”

The Chichester College Group (CCG) is the largest college group in Sussex and was recently rated at ‘outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted.

It also covers Chichester College, Crawley College, Brinsbury College and Worthing College.

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