Plan to expand schools gets the nod

West Sussex County Council
West Sussex County Council

Plans to expand two schools have been given the nod after a largely positive reaction from the public.

West Sussex County Council has proposed expanding Felpham Community College by 60 places per year and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School by 15 places per year.

Of the 190 responses to a recent consultation, 30 related to Felpham and 14 of those approved of the plan. Only 17 responses related to St Mary’s, with seven in support and eight opposing.

A report to councillor Richard Burrett, cabinet member for education and skills, has recommended the plans be taken forward.

The project, which includes investment of around £12.5m to remodel and extend the two sites, will now move on to the next stage of consultation.

Peter Edgington, head of St Mary’s, said: “We are delighted that West Sussex are taking plans for our expansion further. The number of Catholic baptisms in the area continues to rise and there is a clear demand for additional places in Bognor Regis.

“By increasing our admission number by just 15 children per year, from the current 45 to 60 children, we hope to accommodate the increasing demand whilst not having a detrimental impact on neighbouring schools.

“If successful, we will be the first two-form entry Catholic primary school in the west of the county.”

Staff and governors at Felpham were ‘delighted’ to see the plans come one step closer.

Headteacher Mark Anstiss said: “Great schools are not due to buildings and facilities – great schools are created by the staff and students who work there. But the proposed improvements of Felpham Community College are long overdue and will ensure our students have the best modern facilities going forward.

“Felpham’s building stock is currently of mixed quality and, despite the excellent work of our committed premises team, some of the accommodation is starting to look its age.

“The next 18 months will be a busy time in school with planning and development, but we are all excited by the prospect of what lies ahead for our school.”

With the approval of Mr Burrett, a further four weeks of consultation will follow, with final decision on the proposals expected in the middle of February.