Village school between Horsham and Haywards Heath could be forced to close

A primary school between Horsham and Haywards Heath is under threat of closure as part of a local education shake-up.

Monday, 29th July 2019, 4:38 pm
Warninglid Primary School SUS-190729-150740001

Warninglid Primary School - which currently teaches around 50 children in three classes - is among five schools placed at risk of closure or merger by West Sussex County Council.

The schools are currently being assessed by the county council as part of a ‘school effectiveness’ strategy. But officials say that no decisions have yet been made.

Warninglid Primary School - rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted - prides itself on its small classes which it says on its website “is great for learning.”

The school accepts children from out of catchment and currently has pupils from Crawley, Horsham and Lindfield as well as the local village area.

In a ‘small schools assessment’ report the county council says: “The West Sussex County Council School Effectiveness Strategy 2018-22 sets out the need for a diverse supply of strong schools across the county.

“It highlights that, where schools are identified as being at risk, in terms of their viability for optimum quality of provision, options for change need to be considered.

“A high level impact assessment is being undertaken to ascertain whether any schools may reasonably be considered to be at risk in relation to factors which represent indicators for viability and meet the case for consideration for change, namely federation, merger, relocation or closure, when assessed against the Department for Education statutory guidance.”

Apart from Warninglid Primary School, other schools at risk are in Chichester, Worthing and Midhurst.

A county council spokesman said: “Our School Effectiveness Strategy 2018-22 sets out the need to raise education standards and support schools to be sustainable.

“We have been working with schools for some time to discuss future challenges and we are therefore considering changes to a very small number of schools, with exceptionally low pupil numbers, which may include federation, merger, relocation, or closure.

“These will be based on detailed assessment of the long-term viability of these schools when assessed against Department for Education statutory guidance.

“We know this will cause some uncertainty. It’s important to underline that no decisions have yet been made and any changes will be subject to a full consultation with teachers, governors, parents and the community.”

The county cabinet member for education and skills will be asked to consider the outcome of the assessment work and determine the next steps.