Help shape plans for primary education in Worthing and Durrington

A review of primary education in Worthing and Durrington is taking place to improve education for young people and we want as many people as possible to give us their views on our proposals.

A public consultation launched on Monday 28 November 2022 and everyone is encouraged to take part before it closes at midnight on 20 January, 2023. People can find out more and take part in the consultation on our Consultation Hub:

West Sussex County Council’s proposals are to remove 953 currently unfilled primary school places across the Borough, to support Worthing and Durrington schools in creating the best education possible for local children. We are also proposing to increase primary places for children with special educational needs and disabilities in the area.

Across Worthing and Durrington, there are around 1,500 surplus primary places, meaning around 17% of all available primary places are not currently being used. It’s the equivalent to five average-sized primary schools being left empty in the Worthing Borough.

As a result, some schools in the area are significantly under capacity and as a result have varying class sizes. Schools plan their resources and staffing levels on the number of pupils they have, and because government funding is largely per-pupil, schools which have large numbers of empty places can face significant funding pressures.

Working in partnership with the leaders of Worthing and Durrington schools, West Sussex County Council has developed a range of draft proposals to reduce the number of unfilled primary places in the area by 953, in line with the current and future need. Most schools would see either no change or have a reduction in the overall number of school places they offer under the draft plans.

This is part of the County Council’s responsibility to ensure there is the right amount of school places for pupils in each area of the county.

Among the proposals we are seeking views on include:

• Reducing the pupil admission numbers at the following schools: Durrington Infant School; Durrington Junior School; Field Place Infant School; Thomas A Becket Infant School; Thomas A Becket Junior School. There would be no change for pupils who currently attend these schools.

• Merging three schools; Lyndhurst Infant School, Chesswood Junior School, Springfield Infant School, into a single ‘all-through’ primary school on two of the existing school sites. Key Stage 1 (infant) provision would be delivered from the Sackville Road site currently occupied by Springfield Infant School, and Key Stages 1 and 2 (infant and junior) provision would be delivered on the Chesswood Road site currently occupied by Chesswood Junior School, as one school with one governing body. This would give parents of children starting school the choice of two sites. It would mean the Lyndhurst Infant school site is no longer required and children currently there would move to one of the two newly developed sites.

• Creating a new 21-place primary Special Support Centre for children with social communication needs, on the Chesswood Road site. This would incorporate the nine places currently at Lyndhurst.

• Creating a new eight-place Special Support Centre for children with special educational needs and disabilities, on either the Downsbrook Primary Academy site or the Whytemead Primary School site.

Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills, said: “At the heart of what we’re aiming to achieve is for every young person in the Worthing area to have the right school environment to flourish and fulfil their potential. These proposals are to help schools come closer to achieving full classes to reduce their financial pressures and have the resources to give children the best start in life.

“Our proposals also explore opportunities to increase places for children with special educational needs and disabilities in the area, to help meet a growing demand.
“We know how important it is to get this right for education in Worthing and Durrington, which is why we are providing this opportunity for the local community to share their views and help us shape these proposals.

“We look forward to hearing from parents, carers, pupils, and those involved in education, who live in the Worthing and Durrington area and across the county.”

On the Consultation Hub you will find lots more information about our proposals, some answers to questions you may have, and how you can have your say.