Chichester parents fight over schools

Locksley Christian School in Manby rejects the accusations.
Locksley Christian School in Manby rejects the accusations.

PARENTS unhappy with school places are fighting to get their children into their first-choice schools.

And some have questioned why a proposed new school has not yet been built as part of the Graylingwell development despite it being part of the £250m redevelopment of the site

Scarlett Lee Silvester, who lives on the new Graylingwell estate, said: “I am really upset I didn’t get any of my three choices for my daughter and was given Lancastrian school which isn’t good for us.”

She said because Lancastrian is on the other side of the city, it will make life hard, as her partner has use of the family car in the week for work.

“It makes it difficult when you both work, hence putting three choices that you could actually achieve. I live up at the new Graylingwell eco-village where they’re building 
new homes but no new schools, so everywhere is over-subscribed.

“Quite a few people in Chichester didn’t get any 
of their three choices and most of my friends got second or third.”

West Sussex County Council member for Chichester North and deputy cabinet member for children, Jeremy Hunt, said: “It would obviously be wrong for me to comment on one particular case, especially as I do not have the full facts of 
that particular application before me.

“However, having said that, I do of course understand how distressing it is for the lady in question not to be offered any of her preferred schools. Unfortunately however, this can happen if a parent names three schools on the application, for which there are a large number of applicants, many of whom have a higher priority under the admission arrangements.

“With regard to the question of a new primary school on Graylingwell Park, I can confirm that the WSCC do have a ten-year option on a possible school site within the development.

“However at this present time, while there are currently sufficient places at Chichester primary schools to meet local demand, there are no plans to develop it.

“This situation is constantly under review and if it is felt that we need extra primary capacity within Chichester, especially if the proposed local plan is approved, I am sure this site will be considered.”

One mum, Corrina Gordon, 30, from Conduit Mead, said her son Rhys, four, didn’t get into any of her three choices of school, and he has been given the Portfield Academy.

“I had down Hunston, Parklands and Jessie Younghusband,” she said.

“I even passed my driving test so I could drive him 
to school. They make you feel like you have a choice, but there is no choice. I just 
want him to have the best start in life.”

She has appealed and is considering home-schooling.

Several parents will see their children separated as they didn’t get into their sibling’s school.

Samantha Hays, 25, from Summersdale, said her six-year-old daughter Grace goes to Parklands, which was her first choice for her three-year-old Harry, but he was given Lancastrian as his school.

“When you work, you have to get childcare to pick the children up from two schools, it is ridiculous,” she said.

Louise Wade from Donnington, also wanted her four-year-old, Jessica, to go to school in Parklands with her son Oliver, five.

She said: “She has been given the school of our catchment area, which is Kingsham, my son goes to Parklands.

“I’m going to keep fighting for it. There are a lot of people this year that have not got the school of their choice. I do not think they have taken into account that their siblings are in this school.”

Parklands has one reception class this year, as opposed to two in previous years.

One 32-year-old mum from the St Richard’s Park Estate will have to do three trips each morning, as her children will be at three different schools in September.

She has a child at Central, one at Parklands, and her three-year-old was given her third choice, Chichester

Free School.

“Now I’ve got to be in three places at once,” she said.

“We’re not the only people in this position.”


IN total, 88 per cent of applicants for primary schools received their first choice of school, with 97 per cent getting one of their three preferences.

Councillor Jeremy Hunt said: “West Sussex continues to be a popular location for families to settle and attend local schools

and we will continue to strive to ensure that as many parents as possible are able to access at least one of their three choices, if not their first choice.

“This year, in West Sussex as a whole, for those applying to start primary school, 88 per cent of applicants have successfully

been offered their first-choice school and 97 per cent of applicants have been offered one of their three preferred choices.

“I believe this clearly demonstrates that we are striving, with some considerable success, to satisfy a very high percentage of applicants preferences.”

West Sussex County Council allocates places for the reception year, transfer from infant to junior school (Year 3) and first school to middle school (Year 4).

In total it offers 11,216 places – 10,890 of these were applications made on time, 295 were late applications and 31 children have been allocated a place but for whom no application was received.

Parents who do not receive a place at their preferred school

are entitled to appeal to an independent panel.