Merger of Hastings secondary schools proposed

Ark Helenswood Academy. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.
Ark Helenswood Academy. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Proposals have been put forward to merge two secondary schools in the town.

Education bosses want to make Ark William Parker and Ark Helenswood Academies into one co-educational school.

If the proposals go ahead the new school would come into existence next September.

A consultation by Ark, which runs both schools, opens next week with staff and parents.

An Ark spokeswoman said: “This year students at Ark schools in Hastings have made great progress in primary schools, at GCSE and in the sixth form.

“We know there is more work to do to achieve further improvement and the best possible educational opportunities for Hastings and the students we serve.

“Despite their successes, Ark William Parker and Ark Helenswood both have too few students and require significant investment in their buildings, which are currently spread across three sites.

“We believe the best way to secure a sustainable future for both schools is to bring them together in one co-educational school, and next week we will begin consulting on a proposal to do this.

“The school would run across two sites, with Years 7 and 8 based at the Helenswood Lower Site, and Years 9 to 11 plus the Sixth Form at the William Parker site. If approved by the Department for Education, these changes would be effective from September 2019.

“William Parker and Helenswood have a long history in Hastings, and the two schools are already working well together, as shown by the impressive results that our students achieved in the combined Sixth Form this summer. “We believe that our plans will build upon the traditions and expertise of both schools, and ensure that we are able to use these strong foundations to create a high performing school for the community which is sustainable into the future.

“We want to hear what people think of the proposal. We’ve informed staff and parents at the schools on Monday (September 10), so that they have as much notice as possible.”

The consultation will run from next Tuesday (September 18) to October 30 and further information on how to participate will be available on the website at hastingsconsultation.org.