A consultation has opened on plans to turn The Sixth Form College Farnborough into an academy.

The college, in Prospect Avenue, currently teaches around 3,650 students and is hoping the move will help it work more closely with partner institutions.

In January as part of its North and Mid Hampshire Area Review, the Department for Education recommended that the Sixth Form College Farnborough convert to academy status, establishing a trust incorporating schools with which the college already works.

At the time, Simon Jarvis, principal at The Sixth Form College Farnborough, told Get Hampshire the college had been fully engaged throughout the review and that it reflects the college’s ‘preferred strategic direction’.

Now, in a letter on the college’s website, Andrew Needham, chairman of the board of governors, has said the college is now proposing to make some "important changes".

They include the dissolution of the Sixth Form College, Farnborough as a ‘legally designated sixth form college’ and conversion to become The Sixth Form College Farnborough (a 16-19 Academy) within a multi-academy trust, The Prospect Trust, to be established by the college at the same time.

The college currently teaches around 3,650 students

Mr Needham said: “These proposals have been very carefully considered and if implemented will ensure the college retains its deserved position as one of the top achieving sixth form colleges in the country.

"Please be assured that there will be no negative impact on our students."

A summary document on the rationale, main benefits and implications of these proposed changes lists the benefits of converting. It says: “The creation of a multi-academy trust (MAT), with the college at its core, will provide a structure for partner institutions to work more closely, share best practice and achieve synergies and efficiencies.

“The trust will ensure these benefits work to the advantage of all organisations within it. Whilst those within the trust itself will work together more formally, the level of cooperation that currently exists with all other schools and colleges will continue.

“The ability to join the larger and growing academy sector provides potentially more opportunities and benefits than would be available if we were to remain as part of a shrinking sixth form college sector.

"Additionally, at a time of reduced funding for public sector organisations and education, the ability as an academy to gain VAT savings which are currently denied to sixth form colleges is very helpful.

“This proposal has the potential to have a significant positive impact on education in our community.”

Paper copies of the document can be requested by emailing consultation@farnborough.ac.uk and the consultation can be filled out online here.