Jun 14 2011 By Lawrence Poole
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THE head of a Chesham college hoping to be granted academy status has reaffirmed their intentions to welcome all-comers.
Chesham Park Community College will be given a £10m boost if it becomes Chiltern Hills Academy in September.
Around 20 per cent of the current student intake are Muslim and Kevin Patrick confirmed the college's open admissions policy will continue despite the Church of England's Oxford Diocese being a sponsor.
In a consultation, 87 per cent of those who took part agreed with the move.
He said: "The question (of Oxford Diocese's involvement with a number of Muslim pupils) did come up in the consultation, but we've got a Christian ethos of hope, love, forgiveness, compassion and understanding and this applies to all religions.
"There are some people who are worried about it, but we're not changing our admissions policy, we will ensure that respect will continue for all pupils throughout the school.
"That's what the Oxford Diocese wants, we will accept all faiths and none, we won't have a Church of England doctrine."
School governor and Chesham Mosque representative Javad Malik said: "The Oxford Diocese are not funding the school, which is a common misconception, they just have a long legacy of running successful schools.
"We have also agreed that Christian views believe in being equal and we're very happy with this.
"We are now looking at increasing the output in terms of results and progress of the college."
Mr Patrick added: "Those that supported the proposal said they were excited about new facilities and the opportunities for the community.
"Some felt there just wasn't a need for change, I would imagine there was a proportion who were not in favour of the academy philosophy too.
"Logic would also suggest some people who would perhaps need more information or were worried about the extra cost for uniforms - that is unfounded as there wouldn't be any extra costs for existing pupils."
The mixed school currently has 677 11 to 18 year olds and there are plans to increase its capacity if the funding comes from central Government.
To find out more about the proposal go to: http://www.proposedchilternacademy.co.uk/