Littlehampton Community School
|Headteacher||Mrs Jayne Wilson|
|Chair of Governors||Richard Davies|
|Local authority||West Sussex|
|DfE URN||126082 Tables|
Blue, Red and Yellow
|Learning Teams||Larch, Chestnut and Sycamore|
(Abolished in 2004)
The Littlehampton Community School (normally abbreviated to LCS) was a large, mixed gender community comprehensive school located at the edge of Littlehampton, in West Sussex, England, and was the main secondary school in the Littlehampton area. The school was one of the largest secondary schools in both West Sussex and England, and was surrounded by housing, providing easy access for local children. The school closed on 31 August 2009, being replaced by The Littlehampton Academy.
The school opened as Littlehampton Comprehensive School in 1972, following a merger between Andrew Cairns Secondary School for Boys and Maud Allen Secondary Modern School for Girls, brought about following the phasing out of the secondary modern school in the late 1960s after the distribution of Circular 10/65.
Campus and Buildings
The school was located on a split campus site, named 'Hill Road' and 'Elm Grove' respectively due to their proximity to neighbouring roads. The main 'Hill Road' campus consisted of the English, Science, Humanities, Languages, Core Curriculum, Learning Support, Performance and Physical Education departments, whilst 'Elm Grove' campus was home to the Design Technology department and a disused Maths block. The two campuses were linked by a single pathway, dubbed 'The Flight Path' due to its sheer length which many said resemble an airport runway.
In its final years of existence, largely due to the ageing nature of the school, many new buildings were built, including a separate sixth-form college, a specialist business and enterprise centre, and a 'Maths Village'. The latter building, which was originally opened in December 2007, was subject to widespread ridicule within the school, originally due to its rushed construction following the discovery of asbestos in the original maths block, first built more than seventy years earlier as a military hospital in World War II. The building was then, just days after its opening, raided by thieves who stole a multimedia projector. The library and science block meanwhile were also relatively modern in comparison to the rest of the school, being rebuilt in 1991 following a devastating arson attack on the school.
In its final years, the school left its historical house system in favour of a year-based system. The house system involved students being sorted into one of five houses (all named after hills located in West Sussex; Amberley, Bignor, Chantry, Highdown and Rackham). In contrast to this, a reorganisation in 2004 saw students being sorted into one of three 'learning teams' (all named after species of trees; Larch (Red), Chestnut (Yellow) and Sycamore (Blue), (the initials subsequently spelling 'LCS')). The main difference in the latter system was the establishment of five 'Head of Year' posts. The school's uniform at the time of closure was strongly based on the learning teams system, with students wearing sweatshirts and polo shirts in their own team colour (Larch - Red; Chestnut - Yellow; Sycamore - Blue). In addition to this, all students were required to wear smart black trousers and shoes. The school made use of the 'learning teams' in the annual Athletics Morning which was held on the final day of each academic year, where the respective teams from all five years groups joined together to compete.
Academically, 29% of GCSE students in 2008 achieved 5 A*-C grades, including English and Maths, representing a 1% decrease compared to 2007. At Key Stage 5, 2008 saw the school achieve an A/AS-Level points rating of 649.3, a significant improvement on previous years.
The school's final OFSTED inspection was carried out in February 2008, with the school as a whole receiving a 'satisfactory' grading. However, the sixth-form college received the higher grade of 'good', whereas the school was deemed to be 'inadequate' in terms of students' behaviour and attendance. The report saw very little improvement from the school's penultimate inspection which was carried out in November 2004, which also saw the school receive a 'satisfactory' grading and the sixth form a 'good' grading.
In a monitoring inspection carried out in March 2009, OFSTED found that the school was making "good progress" in improving following the main inspection in 2008.
In 2003, the school successfully applied to become a Business and Enterprise specialist school. Much of the money that was required was donated by Anita Roddick, the then owner of The Body Shop. As a result of this donation, a new building that was built with this money was named 'The Roddick Enterprise Centre' (normally abbreviated to 'REC').
The successful implementation of Business and Enterprise specialism meant that the school often entered teams into national competitions. The most successful of these was the school's entry into the 2005 Yell Challenge, which they won and, as a result, set up a new school radio station called "Revamp Radio". It launched on Tuesday 18 September 2006, with help from Arun District Council Chairman Stephen Haymes and kids TV presenter Dave Benson-Philips.
The school successfully reapplied for, and was subsequently redesignated a Business and Enterprise specialist school in November 2007, following the completion of the schools original four-year plan.
The school provided many specialist services that were targeted to assist the most needy within the school, these included the 'Learn2Learn Centre' and 'Bully Busters'.
The Learn2Learn Centre
Formally known as 'The Bridge', the Learn2Learn Centre was a building based in the oldest part of the school. It was set up in the early 2000s to help students with behavioural problems in the classroom. When a student was placed into the centre, they were set tasks in order to help control anger issues and behaviour. Students that complete tasks successfully were rewarded with activity days.
The school's pupils worked with Sussex Police in a bid to stamp out cyber-bullying among teenagers. The school produced a "Bully Buster" advice website. The website was featured on BBC South Today after it received recognition from both the police and its feeder schools.
The Littlehampton College
The school had a separate sixth-form college building which was located within the school grounds, to the west of the main buildings. The college offered students a range of qualifications, including GCSE's and BTEC awards, however by far the most popular was the AS and A2 'A' Level. Most students attended the college for two years, however a limited number of students opted to stay on for a further year in order to attain additional qualifications.
Transition to Academy & Closure
In 2007, the school announced plans to become an academy in partnership with West Sussex County Council and Woodard Schools becoming its partners. The DCSF quickly accepted the submitted 'expressions of interest', and asked LCS to develop a feasibility study, moving the development of an academy much closer.
An early suggestion proposed during the feasibility study was to name the new institution after Dame Anita Roddick, a longtime supporter of the school, who had recently died. This suggestion was never taken up by Woodard Schools, who opted for the name 'The Littlehampton Academy'.
The feasibility study saw much opposition to the academy proposals becoming evident, with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) openly opposing the plans, stating that they were "not impressed" by Woodard's lack of detailed discussions on the proposals, and the number of issues which they claim the school's senior management team refuses to address.
The main consultation event was held on Thursday 13 March 2008, and was open to parents, staff, students and wider members of the community, who could put questions to a panel that included the Headteacher, Chairman of the School Governors, a West Sussex County Council Representative, head of the consultation process and representatives from the Woodard Trust. One of the main concerns raised at the event was the possibility of the Academy becoming a faith-designated establishment, a suggestion widely denied by Woodard. The results of this consultation were largely negative, a reaction that 'surprised' the school. Feedback from the evening showed that seven staff were in favour of academy plans with fifty against, whilst 36 parents said they supported the move, compared to 141 who opposed it.
Despite opposition to the proposal, the government approved the plans for an Academy in September 2008, with West Sussex Council saying they were "confident the academies will enhance educational opportunities". Parents' fears of major changes intensified shortly afterwards when the headteacher, Jayne Wilson, announced she would be leaving the school when LCS closed, with Woodard Schools subsequently announcing that Steve Jewell would become the Academy's principal. The appointment of Jewell led to renewed speculation that the Academy would be a faith designated school, something that Woodard had constantly denied. However, the publication of the academy's prospectus confirmed that the new establishment would indeed be a "Christian designated academy". The prospectus also confirmed that the school would continue in its specialism of Business and Enterprise, whilst also becoming a specialist school in English.
- BBC News - Schools close under academy plan
- Littlehampton Gazette - Littlehampton school buglary
- BBC News - League Tables 2008:The Littlehampton Community School
- OFTSED Report - The Littlehampton Community School
- OFSTED Monitoring Report - The Littlehampton Community School
- Arun District Council - Chairman helps launch new school radio station
- BBC News - School bid to halt cyber-bullies
- BBC News - Three schools to become academies
- Littlehampton Gazette - Support for 'Roddick Academy' at Littlehampton grows
- West Sussex Teachers' Association Weblog - Action Against Academies
- Littlehampton Gazette - Littlehampton Academy plans face widespread opposition by teachers and parents
- BBC News - Government approves two academies
- Shoreham Herald - It's been a magnificent seven years for LCS head
- Woodard School - Principal Designate for Littlehampton Academy Appointed
- - The Littlehampton Academy Prospectus
- The Littlehampton Community School Website
- The Littlehampton Academy Prospectus
- OFSTED Report of Inspection in February 2008
- The Littlehampton College Website
- The Littlehampton Community School's Profile from Direct.gov
- DCSF EduBase