West Sussex County Council reaffirm commitment to supporting families at public meeting

Senior leaders from West Sussex County Council last night met with families in the Adur district who did not receive a preference secondary school place for their children this year.

At the meeting in Shoreham, Leader of the Council Cllr Paul Marshall, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Learning and Skills Cllr Jacquie Russell, together with senior officers from Children’s Services heard parents’ concerns and answered their questions in person.

They reaffirmed their commitment to supporting families affected this year and to rectifying the situation for future years.

Earlier this month the County Council apologised to the families. In an open letter, Cllr Marshall emphasised 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.

An independent review is underway to provide a full understanding of the situation and at the meeting council leaders committed to extend the scope of this review to look at all possible solutions to resolving the issues with secondary school places in the Adur district, including considering best practice in other areas of the country.

The County Council’s admissions team remains on hand to provide support to families affected this year, including advice about the appeals process, which is independent of the council.

Cllr Marshall said: “Thank you to the parents we met with last night. I understand your frustrations and I want to reassure you that we are taking your concerns seriously. We remain 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 that meets their parents’ preferences.”