Campaigners slam Portslade Academy consultation as 'mere formality'

Posted On 28 May 2010 at 12:28 pm

An anti-academy meeting has been called in Portslade after it was revealed the council is already referring to Portslade Community College as an academy before a consultation has finished.

The controversial plans to change the struggling school have been condemned by councillors and governors, who say new head Stuart McLoughlin has not been given enough time to turn the school around.

And they suggest that Brighton and Hove City Council is now treating the ongoing consultation as a “mere formality”.

The meeting will hear not just from anti-academy campaigners, but also from representatives of Falmer Academy, formerly Falmer High School, which has been turned into an academy under the same management, the Aldridge Foundation, as Portslade is proposed to have.

Cllr Rachel Fryer, the Green Party’s education spokesperson said: “This demonstrates the absolute disregard this council is showing for public opinion in this matter.

“Many teachers at the school were unaware of the proposals to turn the school into an academy until the LEA made its announcement.

“The statutory six-week consultation is happening at the busiest time for teachers and over half term when pupils and teachers are away, which suggests the process is being viewed as a mere formality.

“Students’ education is at stake here and it is not good enough.

“We are seeking legal advice over whether this consultation is really legitimate.”

Councillor Fryer presented a letter to the council yesterday in which she asked that the council requests a deferment on the decision from the Department for Education.

The letter also suggests that the proposed timescale is unrealistic, as even in the best circumstances it takes a head at least two years to turn around a school.  PCC is being given just a few months.

An opposition group is forming around the proposals for Portslade Community College to become an academy and an ‘anti-academy’ meeting is being held on Wednesday 16 June at 7.30pm at Mile Oak Community Centre in Chalky Road, Portslade.

Speakers include Alasdair Smith, the general secretary of the Anti-Academies Alliance, Caroline Lucas, the newly elected Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, and teachers and unions.

There will also be representatives from Falmer Academy who will discuss their experiences under the new academy regime at the former Falmer High School.

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