The goal of this group is to encourage long-term planning of school places in Adur, ensuring all are at a safe and full capacity – including the opening of new schools.
We will work constructively with anyone who can who has a stake in the process. From encouraging better communication and more transparency in how WSCC admissions teams make their decisions; to encouraging the WSCC planning teams to gather better data to forecast more accurately needs; to helping schools already squeezed by capacity issues to find funding to alleviate some of that pain; to support the establishment of new schools and sites to meet the demand.
Started by Caroline Lawrence, Catherine Arnold and Chris Betterton – Future Adur Schools Team (FAST) arose from Swiss Gardens Primary School in Shoreham taking on a third entry form temporary classroom in Sept 2017. This was at the insistence of WSCC and with little parent consultation – despite the concerns of parents who felt the school was at insufficient space capacity to accommodate a bulge year and its current building infrastructure not deemed suitable for a permanent three form expansion.
Catherine and Chris then started to delve deeper into the wider Adur school impact (as research exposed whilst some schools were over subscribed others were under-subscribed). It was quickly identified that one of the factors causing this issue was WSCC following a parental preference policy and not that of catchment when relating to oversubscription.
The focus widened to holding WSCC admissions to account over their policy adherence, their ability and proof of school need forecasting and the impact of increasing housing developments on the need for school provision.
The focus is at the primary school level at this point due to our resources, but has wider secondary school impact that certainly needs to be considered (there are no plans for an additional secondary school at this time).
The team has now expanded to 6 dedicated individuals all working on expert areas: two on school data forecasting and WSCC/media liaison, one on analysing the Adur housing developments 106 infrastructure money for education and Adur planning committee liaison, one on Swiss Gardens policy regarding third form, one on planning process and another on planning process and Adur planning committee liaison.