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Academy status will be explored
A college is looking at becoming an academy before it might have no choice.
Oakmeeds Community College has announced to parents it is exploring the idea of switching to academy status.
David Fry, chairman of governors at the college in Burgess Hill, insisted no decision had been made.
He said that at the moment it was “more of a question” but that down the line the school might not have a say.
Mr Fry added: “The view expressed from the Department for Education and local authorities is that even with a change of government academies are on the agenda.
“The only difference will be the pace of change. “We are not in dire straits or anything so the decision is not out of desperation or the solution to a problem.
“The fact is academies are out there.
“We would not be doing our job if we did not seriously consider whether there are serious benefits to converting.”
He said there was unlikely to be a huge financial gain in switching and certainly not one big enough to be the sole driving force.
But he said the school had to look more at self-sufficiency with West Sussex County Council “very rapidly reducing support services they provide to schools”.
The school has written to parents asking for their opinion on the idea.
Mr Fry wrote: “A vital part of the process is to consult with all interested parties which clearly includes yourselves [parents].
“We want to make sure that you are properly briefed so that you can make an informed contribution to the consultation.”
He will personally lead the process and said he was willing to “dedicate whatever time is needed over the coming months”.
Despite the school not having spoken to any academy sponsors it has had to register its interest with the Department for Education.
This was to “gain access to the information we require”, according to the governing body.
The department will assign a liaison to help with the consultation, with the whole process likely to take several months.
In January The Argus reported how the county council’s cabinet member for education, Peter Griffiths, said all schools in West Sussex should become academies or free schools.
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