Fears for future of Stedham Primary School as new expansion plans are unveiled

Plans to increase yearly pupil intake at Easebourne Primary School are unveiled
Plans to increase yearly pupil intake at Easebourne Primary School are unveiled

Fears for the future of Stedham Primary School have been voiced if West Sussex County Council goes ahead with expansion proposals at Easebourne.

Midhurst town councillors also believe the plans could cause ‘confusion and chaos’ amongst parents.

They expressed their concerns after a consultation event at Easebourne Primary School on a plan to double the intake from 30 to 60 pupils a year from September 2019 at the school.

Gordon McAra said he feared for the future of Stedham Primary School and Hollycombe at Milland: “In theory this is a straight forward process but behind it I am quite worried about several things. The extra class at Easebourne would eventually increase the size of the school by 200 pupils. I am nervous if you put the extra capacity in Easebourne it will threaten Stedham and possibly even Hollycombe and could damage the viability of the schools.”

He said there was nothing in the consultation about the possible effect of expansion of other schools, particularly Midhurst Primary School.

“Midhurst has the capacity to expand. It has just spent £250,000 renovating huts which could cope with a surge of pupils. It is able to take extra numbers – it acts as a reservoir.

“This expansion would have an affect on Midhurst Primary School as well.”

Cllr McAra said he was also concerned the county council appeared to be merging the catchment areas of Midhurst and Easebourne: “This might tick boxes for the education authority but in reality it is a recipe for confusion and chaos.”

Cllr Steve Morley hoped the county council would repeat consultation ‘in a better manner’.

“The last time we had anything like this, we ended up with an academy and were told it was ‘the only show in town’. Easebourne and Midhurst deserve better consultation.”

Margaret Guest said she shared the concerns and felt the town council should have been consulted.

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