A quarter of Hove Park School parents reject academy proposal

Posted On 15 Jul 2014 at 10:04 pm

A quarter of Hove Park parents have voted against the school becoming an academy in a ballot organised by Brighton and Hove City Council.

Almost 400 parents out of more than 1,500 voted against academy status for the school.

They outvoted those in favour by 387 to 156 votes – or more than two to one, with 71 per cent opposed and 29 per cent for.

The council announced the result of the ballot this evening (Tuesday 15 July).

It said that parents had been asked: “Do you agree that Hove Park School should convert to become an academy – yes or no?”

The council sent out 1,528 ballot papers and received 544 responses – a return rate of 35.6 per cent.

Derek Trimmer

Derek Trimmer

One ballot paper was rejected.

The council said: “We have passed the results of the ballot on to Hove Park School.

“The decision on whether a school should convert to become an academy is a matter for the school’s governors, not the council.”

Tomorrow the school will be closed after the National Union of Teachers (NUT) called a strike in opposition to the prospect of the school becoming an academy.

Head teacher Derek Trimmer wrote to parents: “It is with regret that I have decided to declare that the school will be closed to students on Wednesday 16 July.

“Despite a minority of the school staff voting to take industrial action on Wednesday, two factors have placed further pressure on the school’s ability to remain open to students.

“The first is that while we have sought to identify how many staff are likely to participate in the strike action, staff are not obliged to inform the school and, therefore, it has been impossible to ascertain the levels of staff likely to be in school and we will only know on the day.

“The second is that pickets will most likely be placed at entrances to the school from 7am on Wednesday morning.

“This puts staff who do not wish to strike in a difficult personal position of having to decide whether to cross a picket line.

“We also believe it is likely that people from a wider group than the immediate school community are likely to be drawn to the vicinity of the school gates.

“Given the factors above, I cannot, on this occasion, open the school to students in the knowledge that we can provide a secure, safe environment for all of our students on this day.

“The school will be open to staff.”

The ballot for three parent governors is due to close tomorrow at 3pm with the results expected later the same day.

Three members of the group campaigning against academy status, Hands Off Hove Park School, are hoping to be elected.

Hands Off Hove Park School spokesman and parent Natasha Steel said: “The council’s ballot of parents shows just how strong local feeling is against academy conversion.

“This combines with over 90 per cent of teachers and support staff who are against the plan and the motion passed by Brighton and Hove City Council to say it is against academies in principle.

“It is hard to see how the governors can go ahead with such an unpopular decision in the face of such strong and universal opposition.”

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