Outcome to the Public Consultation Around Admissions to WPSA


In accordance with the requirement that proposed changes to an academy’s admissions oversubscription criteria, the Trustees of Sussex Learning Trust (in partnership with the Governors’ of Warden Park Secondary Academy, hereafter WPSA) consulted on a change for admission to WPSA from September 2024. This consultation ran for the requisite 6 weeks between 3 November 2022 and Noon on 15 December 2022. 325 0n-line responses were received plus a handful of written responses.

Sussex Learning Trust is determined to behave in accordance with the The Nolan Principles of Public Life, which includes transparency, honesty, accountability as essential virtues for institutions such as ours. Therefore, when we consult on any matter, we do so genuinely wanting to understand our stakeholders’ views which we balance against the objectives of our Trust, always with the interests of the children of Sussex a paramount consideration.

As stated in the consultation documentation, the proposal had the sole aim of providing parity between WPPA children and NWPA children in securing a place at WPSA. The Trustees appreciated that the proposal would probably only draw support from that one, NWPA, community. That was indeed the case with a few exceptions, where respondents were able to see that there should be equity across the constituent academies within the same Trust. There were two main strands to respondents raising opposition to the proposal, namely, that children living in the catchment area for WPSA should be able to receive a place at WPSA and, secondly, that traffic congestion and pollution would increase if the proposal were adopted. Some respondents trusted our assertion that the proposal did not mean that children who lived in the catchment area for WPSA would not receive a place, whilst others did not. We suggested that as numbers coming to WPSA from NWPA were not expected to rise, this meant that traffic congestion and pollution in Cuckfield village was also unlikely to increase. There is never any certainty in managing school admissions. Therefore, whilst we were able to state confidently what we expected the outcomes would be of the proposal, we could not guarantee anything, and that was predominantly what respondents were anxious about.

The Trustees had sight of all responses prior to meeting to decide upon a course of action. The Trustees have decided to retain the status quo and not make any changes to the admission criteria to WPSA for 2024. The Trustees wish to place on record their thanks to those who shared their views.