Hove governor speaks out against academy plans

Posted On 24 Nov 2022 at 10:35 am

West Blatchington Primary School

The governor of a Hove primary school which is considering becoming an academy has spoken out against the plans.

West Blatchington Primary School has been in talks with The Pioneer Academy, which took over Moulsecoomb Primary this year, to join its trust.

Unions have warned that if the plans progressed, it will start actively campaigning against the move.

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And today, one of the school’s governors said he also had misgivings about the plan, which has been under discussion for about a year now.

Governor Tim Hodges said: “I have opposed the academy proposition time and time again at meetings but I am always shot down flames.

“I don’t think Pioneer is the way forward. The unions certainly don’t and several other governors have voiced concerns – but still we procrastinate at every meeting, the merits and pitfalls. It has been going on for over a year now.”

Head Russell Brentnall said: “West Blatchington Primary and Nursery School is proud to be a good school, committed to aiming high and providing the best learning experience for our pupils.

“We work closely in partnership with our local community. While we have had discussions with The Pioneer Academy we do not have any plans to confirm at the moment.”

Unison, the GMB, and NEU unions sent a joint letter to the governors last Friday after learning of the plans from staff who had spotted Pioneer representatives at the school.

In the letter, they said: “Academy chains promise independence to schools, as well as anything else it takes to get their foot in the door.

“However as soon as they do, the running of the school is taken away from both the authority and locally appointed board of school governors taking with it any democratic governance or transparent financial scrutiny.

“If West Blatchington Primary were to subject themselves to voluntary academisation all three unions would mount a very fierce loud and public campaign against the school and that decision.”

  1. All you need is Hove Reply

    The response from the head teacher here is both concerning and evasive. Parents deserve to know what’s going on with their kids’ school so it is hardly surprising that this governor has spoken out. It seems likely there is some dodgy dealing going on behind closed doors between the head and Pioneer Academy Trust. Parents and governors must not continue to be kept in the dark.

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