A split-site secondary school is set to see a restructure next year which the headteacher hopes will give younger students more space to settle in and the older ones a sharper focus on exams.
Hove Park School’s Valley campus on Hangleton Road is currently home to Year 7, 8 and 9, and the Nevill campus is for Year 10, 11 and Sixth Form.
But headteacher Jim Roberts has decided from September 2019 to move Year 9 to the Nevill campus with the Year 10 and 11 students, and the sixth formers to Valley campus with the Year 7 and 8s. This means students will start working towards their GCSEs in Year 9.
He added that students would pick their GCSE options in Year 8, before they move to Nevill, for a three-year ‘run at their exams’.
Mr Roberts said: “We are expecting a new canteen to be built on the Nevill campus this summer. The new facility will accommodate 900 students which will better support three full year groups.”
The headteacher also outlined the benefits of moving sixth formers to the Valley campus.
“Moving the Sixth Form to the Valley campus will present a range of opportunities for our students to take an active role in mentoring, coaching and supporting our younger year groups,” he said.
“Equally it will be beneficial for Year 7 and 8 students to see and hear positive role models around the campus, providing leadership and an example of where hard work and study can lead.
“Our Valley campus was originally designed for 500 or 600 students, and we have got 900 down there.
“A change of campus for specific year groups will reduce the number of students on our Valley campus ensuring our younger students do not feel overwhelmed as they begin their time in a secondary school environment.”
Each year group has 300 students, and sixth formers currently number 170.
However, it is likely the sixth form will grow as Blatchington Mill closes its own facility, but Mr Roberts said as A-Level students have less class time and tend to leave campus for lunch, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Mr Roberts said feedback from parents, carers and staff had been positive.
Pinaki Ghoshal, the council’s executive director for families, children and learning, said: “We have looked at Hove Park School’s proposal for a campus change in 2019, and firmly support this new school structure. Both from a practical and an educational stand point, the changes we believe, will help Hove Park students to progress, achieve and prepare them for the future.”