An investigation has been launched into the former headteacher at the centre of a controversial academy conversion.

Alison Beer resigned suddenly from Worthing High School on September 20 through ill health, having spearheaded the move.

Now The Argus can reveal that she is the subject of a West Sussex County Council investigation, although officials are refusing to say why.

Worthing High Academy Action Group (WHAAG) found out about the investigation following a Freedom of Information request.

Sarah Maynard, from the group, said: “It is extremely worrying and we are calling on the chairman of governors to come clean and let us know what’s going on.”

Senior school staff have been on the receiving end of opposition ever since they announced plans for the conversion.

Matters came to a head in July when teachers voted to strike over the move.

Weeks later Education Secretary Michael Gove agreed to the conversion “in principle” in a letter to the head.

However, when WHAAG members acquired a copy through the Freedom of Information Act, they discovered that Mr Gove said he would consider the result of the investigation when deciding whether or not to approve the proposal.

The school said that it couldn’t comment on the investigation.

Chairman of governors Tony Cohen said he hoped it would be concluded in two to three weeks but added the school would never be able to talk about its contents.

A source told The Argus that it was difficult to say whether the investigation would have an impact on the conversion but added that the Department for Education “would be very interested in the findings”.

A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We carried out some preliminary investigations at the request of the school which are now being taken forward by the governing body and it would be inappropriate to comment whilst this is continuing.”

Carolyn Dickinson, who has taken over as acting head, said: “I am happy to hear from any parents and carers who may still have questions about the academy conversion.”