West Sussex academy discussing admissions policy change - public views sought

A sought-after academy in West Sussex is seeking public views on plans to change its admission policy.
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The Sir Robert Woodard Academy (SRWA), in Lancing, will accept more pupils in 2024 after a number of children were sent to schools outside of their catchment area this year.

The short-term solution came after ‘positive negotiations’ between the academy and West Sussex County Council (WSCC). An additional 70 secondary school places were made available for year seven intake in September 2024 – due to an ‘unusually large’ year 11 cohort leaving the academy this year.

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Now, the academy has announced a public consultation regarding proposed changes to its admissions policy for the academic year 2025-2026.

At The Sir Robert Woodard Academy, 83% of parents who made it their first choice were offered a place for their child. A total of 45 applicants had the school as their first choice but did not get in.At The Sir Robert Woodard Academy, 83% of parents who made it their first choice were offered a place for their child. A total of 45 applicants had the school as their first choice but did not get in.
At The Sir Robert Woodard Academy, 83% of parents who made it their first choice were offered a place for their child. A total of 45 applicants had the school as their first choice but did not get in.

The ‘proposed adjustments’ aim to provide ‘greater parental choice’ for families in Adur and West Shoreham, the academy said.

A spokesperson added: “The primary focus of the proposed changes is the introduction of an additional measuring point in West Shoreham.

"The inclusion of this measuring point aims to enhance accessibility for families residing in West Shoreham, offering them increased options within the admissions process. The proposed changes would take effect in September 2025.”

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The consultation period commences today (Thursday, November 30) and will continue until January 12, 2024.

Principal Kieran Scanlon said: “We are working closely with the local authority to maintain a transparent approach during this consultation period.

"We encourage the community to be actively involved in decisions that impact the education of its students and look forward to receiving their valuable input.”

SRWA has encouraged ‘active participation’ from parents, guardians, and ‘members of the wider community’.

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The academy spokesperson added: "Information about the proposed changes, as well as details on how to engage in the consultation process, will be made available on the academy's website and through various communication channels.”

An independent review of the secondary school placement chaos in the Adur district was published earlier this year, 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.

Jade Sowa, who led a campaign for change, said it was ‘great news’ for families of children – starting secondary school in 2024 – that more pupils would be permitted but she stressed that, ‘in real terms, nothing has changed’.

Jade added: “This is the same solution the council have used the past seven years which is there's no forward planning or building extra capacity.”