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Public consultation on proposed plans to expand Manor Green Primary School

West Sussex County Council want local people’s views on a consultation which has opened into creating more space at the Community Special School in Ifield.

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Manor Green Primary School in Ifield, Crawley [Image: Google Maps]

West Sussex County Council are seeking Crawley resident’s views on plans to increase the space for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) at Manor Green Primary School.

The Community Special School is located in Ifield, Crawley, and offers education from ages 2 – 11.

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The school caters for children with a wide range of needs, particularly those with moderate and severe learning difficulties, including social and communication difficulties and autism. The school opened in 2004 and is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

School admissions across West Sussex have been increasing over the last five years and that includes the number of children with SEND.

The school requires expanding to provide additional teaching space to accommodate the growing pupil population (the school now offers up to 200 places rather than 164 as previously). It is intended that this additional space will be in place for September 2019 and will include two additional modular classrooms and additional hygiene space.

A consultation has now begun on the proposals which include building two new classrooms and more group space. There are no plans to change the education provision.

Richard Burrett, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said:

“I hope people with an interest in education in the Crawley area will engage with this consultation and tell us what they think of the plans.”

The consultation runs until 13 November 2018 and can be found online.

Education

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

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

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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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