Proposal to reorganise primary education in Copthorne Village: initial engagement

Closed 31 Dec 2019

Opened 5 Dec 2019

Results expected 9 Jan 2020

Feedback Updated 1 Apr 2020

We Asked

This initial stakeholder engagement consultation asked for views and comments on a proposed reorganisation of primary education in Copthorne.  It primarily consisted of a drop in session for stakeholders at Copthorne Village Hall and an online survey promoted widely to parents, staff of existing schools, governors, headteachers, local councillors and the education community generally in the wider area. 

You Said

Attached below in the 'Related' information area are summaries reports of the responses received online, who replied etc. The main highlights are:-

  • Sixty one percent (46 responses of the 75 analysed) favoured the schools being retained on the existing sites with some wishing for reorganisation in addition for the schools to become primaries. Fifteen percent (11 responses) supported Fairway Infant moving to the Heathy Wood site and 24 percent (18 responses) raised issues but did not give a specific response in favour or against.  These were mainly attendees at the drop in session who wished to consider further before giving an opinion. 

 

  •  The points most commonly raised were concerns about the accessibility of the school if it were to be built at Heathy Wood, that drop off and pick up for children travelling by car is not appropriate, as planned, and the pedestrian access potentially unsafe along Shipley Bridge Road.  The alternative car route along the A264 may lead to traffic congestion, and there were comments about the isolated nature of the site which has few points of access to the East. There was some concern that the location of the school may attract parents from Crawley which could detract from the ethos of the Village and dilute its strong identity.  There were also concerns raised about air quality and noise from the M23 and Gatwick airport. 

We Did

The results and a report have been shared with senior leaders at the County Council, the two schools involved, the Diocese of Chichester and the local Parish Council.  Discussions are ongoing with these bodies but have in part been delayed by the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.  Further decisions on whether to proceed to more formal consultation are therefore on hold at present with a view to more clarity being found by the end of the summer 2020.

Overview

Photograph of Fairway Infant School and Copthorne CE Junior Schoool
 

West Sussex County Council would like to hear views from the community and local area surrounding Copthorne on the possibility of reorganising primary education in the village in response to significant housing development.  This could align the age range of the schools with the West Sussex School Effectiveness Strategy 2018-22 which states a preference for primary schools rather than the existing infant and junior structure. 

A Stakeholder Engagement Session has been held on 5th December 2019 at Copthorne Village Hall, between 3.45 to 6.45pm, with invitees from the community, the schools, neighbouring schools, Diocese, local councils and organisations and groups in the area with more details of the proposals.  However all comments are welcome and will form part of this discussion and consultation process.

Both Fairway Infant School and Copthorne CE Junior Schools have Good OfSted ratings and the proposed change aims to retain the two school communities and leadership but prepare for the future in terms of growth in numbers and quality of education (there is evidence that primary schools improve results at Key Stage 2 by reducing the number of transitions that children make between schools throughout their school career).

The building of 500+ houses to the West of Copthorne has provided the opportunity to secure a new school site as part of the development and funding towards a new school building (an ariel view of a possible school site at Heathy Woodplease is attached below).  One option would be to utilise this site to relocate Fairway Infant School and for the school to become a primary school with the potential to expand.  In addition, the age range of Copthorne Junior would be aligned by the school to become a primary school.

Alternatively the status quo could be maintained or Fairway Infant rebuilt on its current site at a larger size and both schools change to become primary schools.  Part of the reason to consider change is that the existing Fairway Infants building has a timber frame construction which has unaddressed and significant long term maintenance issues affecting its sustainability.

We would like to stress that no decision has been made yet and the earliest that a new school building could open, or an alternative option could come into effect, is September 2022. 

Areas

  • Crawley Borough
  • Mid Sussex District
  • Tandridge District

Audiences

  • Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Groups
  • Children
  • Disabled People
  • Faith Groups
  • Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual (LGBT) Groups
  • Older People
  • People in marriages & civil partnerships
  • Pregnancy & Maternity
  • Young People
  • Young People Aged 18+
  • Gender Groups
  • Anyone aged 18 or over
  • Teachers
  • Pupils
  • Schools
  • Colleges
  • Students
  • Young people with SEND (Special Educational Needs & Disability)
  • Headteachers
  • SEN Co-ordinators
  • Educational Psychology Service
  • Sensory Support Team
  • Students
  • Universities
  • West Sussex County Council Staff
  • District/Borough Councils
  • Parish Councils
  • Town Councils
  • Elected Members/Councillors
  • Local Authorities
  • Voluntary Organisations
  • Community Organisations
  • All West Sussex Residents

Interests

  • Education
  • Learning
  • Schools