Views could be sought on changes to rural schools

THE public could be asked for their views on the future of two rural primary schools in East Sussex.

On Monday, June 24, the county council’s lead member for education and ISEND will be asked to approve a consultation on school organisation changes in two parts of the county.

The proposals, which follow an extensive review of places at 62 rural schools across the county, are to close Broad Oak Community Primary School by 31 August 2020 and to close Fletching CE Primary School by 31 August 2020.

The closure of the two schools would reduce the number of surplus places in each area and have a positive impact on other local schools and the provision they can make for all pupils.

Stuart Gallimore, East Sussex County Council’s director for children’s services, said: “The council has a statutory duty to ensure that schools are in the right location, are of sufficient size, and are financially able to deliver a high quality education that meets the needs of their local community.  We are committed to working in close partnership with schools, the dioceses and key partners to achieve this.

“I understand the enormity of these proposals for pupils and their parents, school staff and communities, but doing nothing will not alleviate the problems these schools face, and could lead to more widespread uncertainty and difficulties for other schools in the local area.”

Broad Oak Community Primary School has been undersubscribed for the last five years. The school has 81 pupils against a capacity of 140, with nearly two thirds of pupils at the school living outside the school’s community area. For admissions purposes the Heathfield community area will be extended to incorporate the Broad Oak community area.

Surplus spaces at Fletching CE Primary School are expected to increase from 34 per cent to 40 per cent by 2021. Currently 71 children attend the school, which has a capacity of 105, and nearly two thirds live outside the school’s community area.

The school has been undersubscribed for the last five years. For admissions purposes the Fletching community area will be merged with the St Peter’s Chailey CE Primary School community area.

The Diocese of Chichester, as equal partner, has taken a full role in the review of school places and fully supports the proposals being recommended.

Reviews were also carried out in the Alfriston, Battle, Ringmer, Robertsbridge, rural Crowborough, rural Hailsham, rural Uckfield, Rye, South Chailey and Wadhurst areas. The reviews concluded that no school closures are required in these areas.

Details of the lead member meeting on Monday, June 24, and the full report can be viewed at