West Sussex County Council has apologised to families in the Adur district who didn’t receive a preference secondary school place for their children this year.
Councillor Paul Marshall, Leader of the Council, and Director of Children, Young People and Learning Lucy Butler met with parents in Shoreham last month to hear their concerns and frustrations.
They agreed an apology to the parents was due because, though the need for more school places had been previously identified, the situation had not been resolved.
In the letter, copied below, the leader and director also reaffirmed the County Council’s commitment to provide support this year and to rectify the situation for future years.
Dear parents and carers,
On 3 May, Cllr Paul Marshall, Graham Olway, Head of Service for Organisation and Planning and I met with parent representatives. In that meeting we heard your concerns regarding places at schools in the Adur area. We want to reassure you all that we take your concerns seriously and understand fully your frustration at the situation.
Cllr Paul Marshall would like to apologise for what has happened and would again emphasise he is sorry that, even though the need for more school places was identified some time ago and, although discussions about solutions had taken place, actual places for young people had not materialised.
As advised at the meeting, an independent review is being undertaken to provide a full understanding of the situation and the details of the review will be made public as soon as possible.
We want to assure parents of our commitment to rectify the situation for future years. We are committed to do what we can to ensure every child in West Sussex has the opportunity to fulfil their potential in education and to do so at a school which meets their parents’ preferences.
Whilst every child in the county who applied has been offered a place at a secondary school, we do appreciate the strength of feeling and frustration of families and their children who did not get a place at one of their preferred schools.
We will be working with schools in the areas of the county most affected this year to identify solutions that meet the needs of the children as far as possible. The Council’s admissions team remains on hand to provide support, including advice about the appeals process which is, as you know, wholly independent of the County Council.
Cllr Paul Marshall Lucy Butler
Leader of West Sussex County Council Director for Children, Young People and Learning