VOTE: Are you in favour of academy status for Felpham Community College?

Academy status could become inevitable, Felpham Community College’s headteacher has said.

Mark Anstiss said the political tide to switch from being run by a local authority might be unstoppable.

“We know the coalition government is committed to more and more schools becoming academies.

“West Sussex County Council is also committed to making sure all schools become academies in the fullness of time.

“Before long, at least 25 per cent of the secondary schools in West Sussex will be academies,” Mr Anstiss said.

“Some of the successful schools are looking at becoming converter academies, without a sponsor, either on their own or in partnership with other schools.

“If it becomes inevitable all schools are going to become academies, then Felpham Community College will investigate becoming a converter academy.

“I am keeping an open mind about the matter but, at the moment, I’m just looking into it.

“I hope the good collaboration between schools in this western part of West Sussex continues as more and more schools convert to academies.”

Academy status frees a school’s governors from the control of their local council and enables them to set their own wage levels, alter the curriculum around the core subjects and have more flexibility on issues such as the school day.

The Regis School in Bognor Regis is on the way to becoming an academy next January. If Felpham follows, the community college will do so from a position of strength.

This month’s intake to the sixth form was a record in its history of more than 30 years.

“We had almost 140 pupils start in the lower sixth this year compared to the average of just over 100,” said Mr Anstiss.

That was a vote of confidence in the college’s future from the first group of GCSE students to sit their exams following his full year in charge.

Mr Anstiss took over at Felpham in April 2009. He soon made his intentions clear by bringing in strict rules on jewellery, uniforms and behaviour in the college.

These have been noted by governors and staff in a recent survey as achieving lasting improvements in the atmosphere at the college campus off Felpham Way.

Mr Anstiss attributes much of the painless transition to the continuity provided by his deputy head, Pat Ashman.

An ACE set of values around achievement, care and equality has been adopted along with a four-pronged vision.

This is to create a true learning community, a safe, calm and happy, place students wish to attend and where staff want to work, fulfilling student potential and preparing students for life beyond school.

But he is determined the college will not rest on its laurels.

He delivered its prospectus to Bognor Regis area primary schools last week to attract the attention of parents of ten-year-olds as they make the decision about where to send their children next September.

The college’s open evening will be from 6pm-8.30pm on Tuesday, September 27.