A group of frustrated parents took to the streets in a protest march today to voice their anger over dozens of children being denied places at their preferred secondary schools in Shoreham. The demonstration commenced at 10 a.m. in Adur Recreation Ground and saw a large crowd march through Shoreham town centre, ultimately converging at the war memorial in East Street. Carrying signs that read “don’t forget about me” and “we deserve better,” the parents aimed to draw attention to their plight.
The catalyst for the protest was the reported exclusion of approximately 30 children from Swiss Gardens Primary School in Shoreham from being offered places at three local secondary schools. Instead, West Sussex County Council provided an alternative offer for these students to attend St Andrew’s CE High School in Worthing, which is located six miles away. The three preferred schools that most children had applied to are Shoreham Academy, Steyning Grammar School, and Sir Robert Woodard Academy.
Responding to the situation, a spokesperson for West Sussex County Council stated in March that they strive to offer every child a place at one of their preferred schools. However, due to various factors outlined in the council’s oversubscription criteria policy, a small number of families may not receive their preferred placements. The spokesperson acknowledged the frustration experienced by families in these circumstances and highlighted measures implemented to alleviate the pressure on secondary school admissions in the Adur and Worthing areas.
Among the measures taken, Shoreham Academy agreed to admit a maximum of 30 additional pupils into Year 7 for the upcoming academic year. Additionally, all schools in Lancing and Worthing reached an agreement to accommodate a limited number of extra students. In cases where schools are oversubscribed, children are offered places at the nearest available school with sufficient capacity, adhering to the council’s admissions policy.
To address the concerns of families affected by the placement issue, West Sussex County Council assured that their schools admissions team is available to provide support and further guidance on available options, including the appeals process. Families can reach out to the admissions team by emailing email@example.com.