Council announces launch of school closure consultation

Pells school, Lewes, facing closure SUS-160316-231512008
Pells school, Lewes, facing closure SUS-160316-231512008

A public consultation into the closure of two Lewes primary schools launches this week.

Members of the public are being asked for their views on proposals to close Pells CE Primary School and Rodmell CE Primary School. The consultation opens on Friday, April 15 and runs until Friday, May 27.

The proposals follow an extensive area-wide review of primary schools, aimed at ensuring there are sufficient places to meet predicted future demand and that schools are well placed to deliver sustainable, high-quality education to their communities.

Both Pells and Rodmell schools have struggled to attract enough children in recent years, with low pupil numbers impacting on the ability of the schools to secure financial stability and good outcomes for pupils. The options of no change, federation or joining a multi-academy trust were explored before proposals for closure were put forward.

“The decision to close a school is never an easy one to make, but we must focus our efforts on giving all children in the county the best chance at reaching their full potential,” said Cllr Nick Bennett, the council’s lead member for education and inclusion, special educational needs and disability.

“It is important that we hear the views of all those affected by the proposals and properly understand any impact on the wider community. We will continue to discuss options with staff and parents throughout the consultation process.”

A report on the proposals, presented to the lead member in March, states that fewer parents selecting Pells, which has an Ofsted rating of “requires improvement”, and the limited intake for Rodmell means both schools will struggle to be financially sustainable in the future.

An additional issue identified is the challenge of recruiting high quality headteachers for both schools given their circumstances. The headteacher for Pells Primary School left in December 2015 and Rodmell Primary School will be without a headteacher from September 2016.

Members of the public can take part in the consultation from Friday, April 15 by visiting www.eastsussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay.

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