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Secondary school applications now open

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Parents and carers can now apply for secondary school places for September 2022.

Applications need to be made for each child who will be transferring to year 7 in September (those currently in year 6). The deadline to apply is Sunday, 31 October 2021 and it is important that applications are made on time for the best chance of being offered a preferred place.

The easiest way is to apply online. It is quick and simple and an automatic response will confirm an application has been received.

Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills, said:

“All of the information needed for applying can be read on our website and I strongly recommend parents and carers take time to consider their preferences by looking at the school websites or contacting the schools to learn more.

“It is really important that applications are received on time, missing the deadline could seriously reduce the likelihood of being offered one of your preferences.”

Free use of computers with internet access is available in all West Sussex libraries, people can turn up and use them without booking. The library service also offers digital support which includes help with filling in online forms, on 0330 222 3455.

Those unable to apply online can request a form through the post by calling 03330 142903.

When applying:
• Parents are encouraged to apply for three schools and should list them in order of preference.
• A child is not guaranteed a place at a school just because they are in the catchment area. Parents will need to select the catchment school as part of their application for it to be considered.
• Those who miss the deadline for applications must still submit an application form, as a child will not automatically be allocated a school.

West Sussex County Council staff are available to advise parents on the admissions process. Parents can telephone 03330 142903 or email the admissions team north: admissions.north@westsussex.gov.uk or the admissions team south: admissions.south@westsussex.gov.uk

Primary and junior school applications for September 2022 will open on Monday, 4 October 2021 to Saturday, 15 January 2022 and, when open applications should be made in the same way.

Education

Crawley Headteacher pleads with parents to challenge election candidates over school funding

Michael Ferry, who is Headteacher of St Wilfrid’s school in Crawley, has penned a letter to pupils parents encouraging them to seek answers over the problems of funding in education.

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Parents of pupils attending St Wilfrid’s school in Crawley have been sent a letter by the Headteacher Michael Ferry.

In his letter Mr Ferry asks parents to push all political candidates up for election in Crawley about funding issues for schools.

In his letter Mr Ferry says:

“St Wilfrid’s is a very successful school with a strong reputation within Crawley and West Sussex as a whole. Since 2015, I have been forced to make significant cutbacks in order to be able to set a “balanced budget” year on year.

The results of such cutbacks can be seen starkly in the reduction of the number of full time equivalent (FTE) teachers at the school; in 2014 we had 66, starting in September 2019 we had 55! Some of these reductions have been through a formal re-structuring process, others by deciding not to replace a teacher when they have left and some because there is simply a recruitment and retention crisis in the profession across a broad range of subjects.”

Referring to the upcoming election he says:

“In the coming weeks you will undoubtedly hear terms such as “more money in education than ever before!” and “levelling up” from current ministers and undoubtedly there will be “promises” from all parties in their manifestoes.

The reality is that I have to make savings year on year, as any increases in funding either real or projected are simply not enough to keep pace with the rises in costs.”

Mr Ferry finishes his letter with listing out four points he says he has identified to help inform parents and encourage a debate with candidates:

  1. Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) The recent report from the Education Select Committee can be accessed via www.publications.parliament.uk/pa.cm201920/cmselect/cmednc/20/2003.htm
  2. Current announcements from Government promise an increase in funding of £2.6bn in 2020/21, £4.8bn in 2021/22 and £7.1bn in 2022/23. These are not adjusted for inflation and only represent increases in “cash terms”. Any future government would need to increase these figures significantly and ensure that future investments are protected against rising costs. As an example, the £7.1bn projected increase 2022/23 equates to a “real terms” increase of £4.3bn once you have factored in future cost pressures.
  3. Post 16 funding for Sixth Form students must be addressed. Despite the recent announcement of a small increase of funding per student, which is hugely welcomed, it will require significantly more investment in schools and Sixth Form Colleges to ensure that further cuts in the curriculum offer are not needed and that the breadth of subjects on offer can be rich and varied.
  4. There is a recruitment crisis in teaching across many subjects, especially in the cores subjects of Science and Maths, but also in many other areas including RE, MfL, Design Technology (including Food Technology), Computers Studies, in fact, trying to recruit in any subject is exceptionally difficult and increasingly becoming more expensive. As an example, FTE teacher numbers have fallen by over 10,000 in the last four years with almost a third of teachers leaving the profession within 5 years of qualifying. Any future government must set out clear plans to address this issue and ensure that sufficient real terms funding is made available as necessary eg. If any party “promises” to increase salaries for teachers to aid recruitment, it must also provide the year on year real terms funding for this.

You can read the full letter here by clicking here.

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