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Fast-changing weather keeps highways teams on constant watch

Highways teams are ready to deploy gritters and snow ploughs will be fitted ‘when required’ to keep main roads open.



Over the last seven days of severe weather, a total of more than 1,000 tonnes of salt were spread on the roads in the county.  Highways teams are constantly keeping watch on fast-changing weather forecasts, ready to deploy gritters to keep West Sussex’s main routes open and passable with care.

West Sussex Highways can call upon a fleet of 22 gritters, with snow ploughs, through contractor Balfour Beatty Living Places.

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More than 150 community winter plans are also in place, with 50 volunteer farmers on standby.

Parish and town councils work with local farmers or contractors who can assist with snow clearance when needed.

County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, Bob Lanzer said:

“We are liaising constantly with the Met Office and have eight highway weather stations around the county, so we can combine all the information to produce a bespoke road condition forecast for the county.

“Precautionary salting operations will continue throughout the period of severe weather and snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.

“We advise residents and Town and Parish Councils to monitor the @WSHighways Twitter account for updates.”

For information on how West Sussex Highways decides when to grit roads, and gritting routes, click here.

The County Council’s winter campaign website page has several sections giving advice on ‘staying warm’. Please see:

If you know or look after someone who may be susceptible to the effects of this cold weather period, please help ensure they stay warm and well and check in advance that they are prepared for this cold spell.

General advice includes:

• Stay tuned in to weather forecasts.

• Check and maintain daytime room temperatures of 21°C.

• Check bedroom night time temperatures and maintain it at 18°C or warmer.

• Keep warm and active, and if you have to go out dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes.

• If you are concerned about your own health or welfare, or that of others, please alert the emergency services – please see:

Keep up to date with all the latest news.

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Crawley school students launch petition for change as funding cuts threaten their education

The petition has been launched by some students at Thomas Bennett Community College and already has over 200 signatures.



The school has been in the news over the past few months due to the funding cuts by TKAT.

With teachers leaving the school and residents community meetings being held with councillors it has been and continues to be a turbulent time for all associated with the school.

Now some students have taken it upon themselves to launch their own petition aimed it seems at changing the school for the better.

The students say:

“We are Students that are currently attending Thomas Bennett. We are undertaking our GCSE’s and are month’s away from exams. With limited welfare support throughout the school, such as a medical room assistant or a pastoral support assistant for each year we are struggling tremendously with the way the school is run due to low funding.”

The student who has launched the petition also mentions how he emailed the CEO of TKAT raising his concerns but was told it ‘wasn’t in their hands and overall should stop talking about it’.

Whilst the petition does not mention it there is a feel that the aim is to bring the school back into public sector as stated by Crawley Council leader Peter Lamb who has show his support of the petition.

The petition states:

“Over the years Thomas Bennett has struggled with funding, only to which this struggle became increasingly more difficult when the academy, TKAT, took over our school. Profit not students success is what this academies aim is and large group of students including me are ready to do whatever needs to happen for something to change! Whether that’s a whole year walkout or a strike with the whole school. “

It adds:

“A walk out is something TKAT does not want to face especially with media coverage and limited time for year elevens, a whole year will not just get bad qualifications with missed time but will also reflect on the education that is being provided for students by this school run by the academy.”

The very fact that students themselves have now made the decision to make a stand shows how passionately the pupils feels about their educational needs but a viable outcome still seems distant.

A spokesperson from the Kemnal Academies Trust commented,

“We welcome our students’ active involvement in their education and the Trust has been working directly with the students at Thomas Bennett.

Funding is a national issue for Education affecting all schools, with the West Sussex “worth it” movement taking a leading part in the campaign to improve funding for all schools”.

The petition can be read here.

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