By Gareth Davies, The Argus, 29th April 2014
A school community has voted unanimously against plans to become an academy and has vowed to carry out direct action to get their voices heard.
More than 150 people crammed into a meeting at Bishop Hannington Church in Nevill Avenue, Hove, tonight organised by a group of parents opposing Hove Park School becoming an academy.
Councillor Sue Shanks chairwoman of the Children and Young People Committee and Conservative Councillor Andrew Wealls sat on the panel and fielded questions during the heated meeting which lasted more than an hour and a half.
When asked whether parents would be prepared to take their children out of school, dozens raised their hands while about 95% of the audience voted to take part in direct action.
Almost everyone in the room raised their hand when asked if they disagreed with Hove Park School becoming an academy (pictured).
Nick Childs, regional officer for the National Union of Teachers, challenged Coun Shanks to conduct a parents and staff ballot to gauge the level of support and the Green councillor agreed.
A number of speakers including parents, students and academy experts delivered rousing speeches, but headteacher Derek Trimmer and his chair of governors did not attend after being invited to sit on the panel.
A spokeswoman for Hands Off Hove Park School, who organised the meeting, said: “The meeting was brilliant.
“It was really great to get everyone in the room and discuss this issue.
“We will be having a meeting to see what action we are going to take.
“The only way we are going to be heard is by making some noise.”