West Sussex County Council has confirmed an investment package of £30m for Worthing schools which could see children transfer to secondary schools at 11 instead of 12.
The county secured a £20m Government grant to cope with increasing pupil numbers in the Worthing area. Around £13m is to build a new 900-pupil secondary school following a large influx of children. The school will be built on surplus land at Northbrook College in Broadwater.
In addition the County Council is now prepared to invest £10m of its own resources in the town’s schools and is to consult on the planned improvements. One of the main proposals is the ‘Age of Transfer’ change which would bring Worthing in line with most other schools in the country. All parents will be consulted for their views on the best way to make the changes.
Peter Evans, Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “Funding the Age of Transfer scheme has become a priority for the County Council.
“That is why we have been able to find this significant amount of money for these improvements. Although the council is facing huge financial pressures across all of its services, we see this as a golden opportunity for the children of Worthing. We have a site for the new school, and we now have the funds available.
“We are not intending to close or merge any schools so these changes will build on the strengths of the current schools and their teachers. We have worked closely with schools to bring forward these proposals and will continue to do so.”
The consultation document, due to be published in November, will contain details of proposals for each school in the Worthing area, including proposals for additional places at other secondary schools.
Public meetings will be held for schools where changes are proposed.
If the proposals are approved it is expected they would be in place by September 2015.