West Sussex academy allocation expanded for one year amid secondary school placement chaos
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‘Positive negotiations’ between West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Lancing have resulted in an additional 70 secondary school places being made available for year seven intake in September 2024.
WSCC leader Paul Marshall said: “We made a commitment to our communities in Adur that we would engage with schools who are their own admissions authority to influence changes which could benefit a significant number of children and families.
“We are extremely pleased that our discussions have resulted in Sir Robert Woodard Academy offering an additional 70 places. This will significantly reduce the pressure on secondary school places in the Shoreham area for next year.”
Sir Robert Woodard Academy principal Kieran Scanlon said: “Due to an unusually large year 11 cohort leaving the academy this year, I am pleased to be able to offer additional places for September 2024 entry to Sir Robert Woodard Academy.
"Discussions will continue with West Sussex County Council about longer term options but the need to give greater certainty locally is something we will continue to engage with the council about.”
This announcement comes after an independent review of the secondary school placement chaos in the Adur district was published, amid heightened fears from parents for their children’s future.
Dozens of Shoreham primary pupils were not offered a place at any of their three preferred schools in Adur this school year, with more than 2,000 people signing a petition against the decision.
Families of children in the Adur district who did not receive a place at any of their preferred secondary schools received an apology from the council in June.
An independent review was launched to ‘gain a full understanding’ of the situation regarding secondary school places in Adur.
Among the findings were that the council ‘knew that there would be a shortage’ of year seven places ahead of time.
It stated more could have been to alleviate pressures on Shoreham Academy and Sir Robert Woodard after extra places could not be provided. Click here to read more.
Jacquie Russell, cabinet member for children, young people, learning and skills said: “Despite over 96 per cent of applicants in West Sussex receiving one of their secondary school preferences this year, we do not underestimate the impact on those children and families who were not able to gain places at local secondary schools in Shoreham this year.
"I am delighted that by working with Sir Robert Woodard Academy we have found a practical solution which will benefit local children and families next year.”
West Sussex County Council said it ‘remains committed’ to ensuring that all children and young people receive education and learning which ‘helps them fulfil their potential’.
A spokesperson added: “We will continue to take action to address longer term school place planning in the Shoreham area.”
Adur Council’s Labour Group had previously called on the county council to provide funding so that temporary classrooms can be installed to allow more children to go to a secondary school in their local area.