More than 300 people have signed an online petition asking Brighton and Hove City Council not to halve the number of children who can go to a Portslade primary school.
The petition follows proposals by the council to reduce the published admission numbers (PAN) – or the intake – at five primaries in Brighton and Hove from September 2019.
The five schools are Moulsecoomb Primary, Coombe Road Primary, West Hove Infant School (Connaught Road site), Benfield Primary and Hertford Infant and Nursery School.
The intake at each school would reduce by 30 pupils – or one form of entry – and by 150 pupils in total across the five schools.
Benfield would be left with one reception class starting each year instead of two. Some parents believe that this will inevitably lead to job losses.
Others said that neighbouring schools in Portslade were better placed to drop from three reception classes to two.
The council’s proposal is supported by the governors at Moulsecoomb, Coombe Road and West Hove but opposed by Benfield and Hertford’s governors.
The current consultation closes on Sunday 19 November, with a public meeting due to take place at Hertford on Tuesday 31 October.
About 100 parents turned out for a similar meeting at Benfield last Thursday (12 October).
The petition about Benfield says: “We the undersigned petition Brighton and Hove Council to abandon its proposals to halve the admission numbers for Benfield Primary School
“We would like to take a moment to express the impact the proposed changes would have on our school and the wider community.
“We have the best team of teachers who provide an excellent education for all our children.
“As a team the school has turned itself around and what it has achieved in the last few years is nothing short of amazing. We lead with the best.
“The school keeps within its budget and all the staff and parents are against these proposals and we stand as a community to fight them.
“We request that a full equalities impact assessment be carried out before any more time is spent considering a reduction to Benfield School
“We are concerned that other options for reducing PAN have not been considered, for example, reducing one of the other local three form entry schools to two forms.
“Benfield balances its budget and is not in the red. It has forecast itself to remain that way for the next few years. This means its staff can concentrate on providing high-quality education.
“Benfield is a school in the top 25 per cent of the country for pupil progress, a true measure of a school’s success.
“Reducing the number admitted to Benfield would prevent children from accessing this great education.
“It has recently become a national teaching school. The council congratulated the school on this, stating ‘excellent news for the school and recognition of the huge improvements that have taken place at the school in recent years, it is also good news for the city’.
“The teaching school status was awarded based on a two form entry school. Delivering high-quality teacher training would be very challenging if not impossible if it were a one form entry school.
“The council should be supporting the school with this prized status not making it harder for them.
“Staff jobs would be lost. The whole team at Benfield have worked really hard to turn the school around rapidly and they are incredibly dedicated to the children and the school community.
“It would have a massive impact on the school if staff were lost. They make the school what it is.”
To sign the petition, click here.
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