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Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 09:31 UK
Two Sussex schools consider academy status
School children in class

Two of the biggest state schools in East Sussex are looking at becoming academies - independent of council control.

Uckfield community technology college has registered its interest - and could decide to opt out next week.

"It would give the governors and staff much more freedom than they have now," said Jeff Evans, the deputy principal of Uckfield.

The governors of the Priory school in Lewes met last night to discuss the idea.

More Sussex schools are likely to be considering the idea.

The government says 70% of top secondary schools in England are interested in becoming academies.

Michael Gove
Michael Gove: "overwhelmed" by the response to the offer of academy status.

Some see the change from state school to academy as a very significant one.

"For example the staff would be employed rather than by East Sussex, by the governors themselves. So it puts a lot of control into locally elected governors," said Jeff Evans.

"There's a much greater freedom to set your own curriculum...you could set your pay scales for staff if you wanted to, rather than have nationally agreed pay scales," he said.

Others see the idea as "more evolution than revolution".

The government has written to all schools in England inviting them to become academies - billed as independent state schools.

The Catholic Church in England has told its schools it would be "unwise" for them to apply for academy status.

The Church of England has said it would not object to its schools seeking academy status.

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