Bognor Regis academy plans progress

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Work is on course to create the Bognor Regis area’s first academy school.

An intensive series of meetings is being held to ensure The Regis School gains its new status next January.

Head teacher David Jones met education officials from West Sussex County Council and officers from the school’s sponsor, United Learning Trust, earlier this month for one of the lengthy sessions.

“The workload is all about the processes we have to go through the transfer of assets from the county council to the trust,” he said.

“We are the most complicated school in West Sussex where that will happen from that point of view.

“It’s not just the school that’s affected.

“We also have the Arena Sports Centre, the Stepping Stones nursery and the Arena Skills Centre on the campus. Adult education is also here.

“All of them are in separate buildings and all of them have their own issues.

“Our sponsor is keen to take all of them on, but it is not straightforward.

“But, next January is still the starting date and that should happen.”

September will also see the start of a six-week consultation period about the change with the school’s staff.

Mr Jones said the employees had been kept informed since the intention to become an academy was agreed.

But the consultation had to be held by law to ensure the staff’s interests were safeguarded.

“I don’t anticipate any difficulties,” he said, “but we have to go through the consultation.

“We’ve not had any adverse comments from our partners in the community either to our proposed new status.

“The one thing which has been said is that people don’t want any further changes for a while because we had a new uniform last year, changed the school name, the structure of the school day and the tutoring arrangements.”

The Observer revealed in May the intention of its governors to seek academy status for the Westloats Lane school of 1,403 pupils and 190 staff.

Becoming an academy will give the governors and Mr Jones more freedom to run the school.