An important consultation on school places has been started by Brighton and Hove City Council and I would like as many people as possible to have their say.
It ends on Friday 27 November and decisions about school numbers for September 2022 will be agreed by the end of February 2021.
No one wants to see school places reduced and I empathise with parents and carers concerned that fewer places mean less choice.
However, the funding situation means that the council has little alternative but to streamline places.
The level of surplus is higher than the government recommends and there are concerns that failure to act could lead to some schools facing serious financial problems.
The plan is to reduce the total number of school places by nearly one fifth across the city for the academic year starting September 2022.
Six primary schools and two infant schools will be affected, along with Hove Park School and Sixth Form.
The priority is to ensure that families still have a wide choice of schools and that careful management of places will mean we can keep all the city’s schools open.
I urge everyone with an interest in education in Brighton and Hove to join the conversation and encourage others to do likewise.
The online survey can be found on the consultation portal of the council website and views can also be submitted by letter and email.
I am particularly passionate about local schools for local children and being able to offer families school places within walking distance of home.
The public health and climate crises have really brought home the need to stay fit and reduce carbon emissions.
I am watching with interest an initiative from the Town and Country Planning Association and Sport England called the “20-minute neighbourhood” – a concept borrowed from Melbourne and based on the idea that most people are happy to walk for 20 minutes to reach basic amenities.
The 20-minute neighbourhood is about living locally, giving people the ability to meet most of their daily needs within a 20-minute walk from home, including schools, transport, housing and health and wellbeing.
Let’s work together to deliver more inclusive, vibrant and healthy neighbourhoods. It will take vision practical steps and I’d love to hear your ideas of how it can be achieved in your neighbourhood.
Councillor Nancy Platts is the leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.
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