County Council To Investigate Merging Woodlands Meed School & College Sites
20th March 2018
West Sussex County Council have made a surprising move by announcing that they are to undertake a feasibility study to see if they can merge the dilapidated Woodlands Meed college campus located in the east of town with the modern school site located off Chanctonbury Road.
The county council say that the current split is not the best environment for the pupils or the most efficient way to run the school. Really? Who knew!
Unless you've been living under a rock, readers will know that the school and local campaigners have been lobbying the county council hard for a number of years to make good on their promise to complete the whole school site on land at what was formerly Oakmeeds Community College.
Difficulties arose 18 months ago when Oakmeeds converted into Burgess Hill Academy. The land that WSCC had earmarked for Woodlands Meed's eventual expansion had to be signed over, meaning the option to develop the site was lost.
With no money available at the time to complete the site anyway, WSCC were looking to do some remedial work to the college site to keep it ticking over. Governors weren't overly enthused, preferring for the council's limited funds to be preserved for a more permanent solution, either by combining the two sites or even being open to the college site undergoing a major refurbishment.
Following a new show of strength at the Council Local Committe meeting on February 21st, West Sussex County Council have been spurred into action by proposing the feasibility study.
Whether the whole school can be completed on a smaller footprint and if there's actually money available, we'll have to wait and see. The fact that WSCC are doing something is a positive sign -- just as long as it's not a delaying tactic!
Richard Burrett, Cabinet Member for Education said:
“We are absolutely committed to working in partnership with Woodlands Meed Governors, families and staff to get the right solution for the children who depend on this school and those who will join the school in the future. This has always been about doing the right thing for those children to give them the standard of education they need and deserve. I look forward to developing our partnership and working closely with the school to move us forward on this issue.”
Chair of Governors at Woodlands Meed, Marion Wilcock, said:
“The priority for Governors is to ensure that our pupils have the appropriate accommodation to meet their educational and special needs, whether this is on one or both of our sites. It is encouraging that WSCC has been able to identify funding to achieve this. We look forward to taking an active part in the feasibility study and working in partnership with the Council.”
The outcome of the feasibility study is expected in the early summer.
For more reaction please visit the 'Complete Woodlands Meed' Facebook page here:
|Spread the word, the council are once again looking at merging the two Woodlands Meed sites.
Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
Do you think that the Woodlands Meed School and College sites can be merged onto a smaller footprint than originally planned?