Plans for a new Brighton school remain unchanged in the face of opposition from the city’s existing secondary heads.
Last week, every secondary head in Brighton and Hove, from local authority controlled schools, faith schools, academies and free schools, signed an open letter urging the council and other authorities to spend money on the city’s existing schools rather than “wasting it” on another school.
But this week, the department for education said it was still working with the council and Brighton University Academy Trust to make the school a reality.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The Education and Skills Funding Agency is working with Brighton and Hove City Council and the free school trust to secure a site and deliver this school.”
Last week, the city council said it remained “strongly of the view that a new secondary school is needed in the eastern central area of the city”, saying that it will need spaces for children living in the 13,000 new homes expected to be built by 2030.
And the university’s position is also unchanged, with the press office pointing Brighton and Hove News to its current statement: “It is our firm belief that education transforms lives and we want to share our experience and expertise to benefit your children and our community by sponsoring a new school.”
However, the site remains the main sticking point, with no decision due to be made on whether land at Brighton General will even be available for a new school until next spring or summer.
Mike Jennings Director of Finance and Estates as Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust said: “Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT), owner of Brighton General Hospital, is undertaking work looking at redevelopment of the site to provide improved healthcare accommodation.
“The main objective of this work is to see if it is possible to provide new, fit for purpose, health and care facilities on the site. If the healthcare accommodation needs can be provided effectively from a smaller site, then some land can be released for other uses like a new school.
“We have been undertaking initial studies and are now at the early stages of the detailed work needed to be able to develop more concrete plans. This next phase of the work will include engagement with staff, patients, and the wider community.
“SCFT are working very closely with the council and the other local health and care organisations to make sure any redevelopment meets the needs of our local communities.”