Public consultation to be held into plans to move Chichester school to new site
West Sussex County Council has proposed that Jessie Younghusband Primary School be moved to the new Minerva Heights development being built to the north of the city.
This would allow St Anthony’s Special School, which shares the site in Woodlands Lane, to take over the vacated buildings and enrol 50+ more children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Jacquie Russell, cabinet member for children & young people, learning & skills, has approved the launch of the consultation, which will run from December 14 to January 31.
As well as the move and expansion of the two schools, the council wants to carry out a review of the catchment area.
As well as Jessie Younghusband, the area includes Fishbourne CE Primary School and Parklands Community Primary School.
A spokesman said: “The creation of a primary school in a new location together with the need to include the additional children who will live in Minerva Heights for future school place planning means it is necessary to consider the appropriateness of current catchment areas for primary admissions in the local area.”
Any changes made would not affect pupils currently attending the schools.
News of the proposed relocation of Jessie Younghusband has not gone down well with some parents.
More than 300 people have signed a petition calling on the council to halt the process.
The most common question asked was why the school coudn’t stay where it was as well as having a new primary school built on the new development.
Organiser Alexandra Robertson said: “We wholeheartedly recognise that SEND provision within West Sussex has been inadequate, and that initiatives are needed to increase this.
“Their provision should not be at the expense of our community school.
“We want children with SEND to have access to the provisions that they require, Minerva Heights to get the school they need and for north east Chichester to keep its only school.”
A council spokesman said: “Details of the decision have been published on the county council’s website. We invite all residents to participate in the consultation when it opens.
“We have directly contacted the schools involved, parents and carers of pupils, as well as the wider community, to ensure that everyone is informed about these proposals and consultation.”