School bid finalised as deadline draws closer

Shoreham is one step closer to getting a new school as plans are being finalised before the national deadline.

David Etherton, headteacher of St Nicolas and St Mary CE Primary School, Shoreham. Picture: Derek Martin
David Etherton, headteacher of St Nicolas and St Mary CE Primary School, Shoreham. Picture: Derek Martin

As previously reported, David Etherton, headteacher at St Nicolas and St Mary CE Primary School, Shoreham, announced he wanted to run a new one-form entry primary school in the Adur area which would open in September 2017.

At a public meeting held at his school, Mr Etherton outlined the plans which would be submitted to the Department of Education. Click here for the full story.

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At the time the deadline was not clear – but it has now been confirmed as the end of this month.

Mr Etherton said he was confident that the bid would be submitted in time.

“My governors are currently in the process of finalising the application form, which is a 100-page document.

“We are also finalising a 15-strong pre-opening team so we can make sure the school can open in 2017 if it is approved by the Department of Education.

“We have been quite fortunate because since the public meeting we had quite a number of skilled people come forward and say they wanted to help with the project. We have had to make sure we had a good range of skills, from HR to project management and finance.”

Mr Etherton added that the detail of the application will be debated at a governors’ meeting tonight.

Next monday, the application will be approved by governors and it will be submitted shortly afterwards.

Mr Etherton said that parents wanted from the new school was ‘the ideals and values of a church school’ but with an open admissions process.

“What is clear is that we are not going to have enough places for September 2017, and the feedback we strongly had was that parents need a local solution. We think we can provide that.”

At the public meeting earlier this year, concerns were raised by parents and other headteachers about the sustainability of the new school and the risk of overcapacity.

Mr Etherton said these concerns had been ‘extensively discussed’.

“There will be a one-form entry school in 2017. What is less certain is if and when that will have to go to a two-form entry. We want to make sure this only happens when there’s a direct demand and we are working with the local authority to establish when that will be.”

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