Our schools must remain under local governance

Wednesday 9th April 2014 in Letters, The Argus

Regarding the pupil protest over Hove Park academy plans (The Argus, April 2), thank you to your journalist, Ben James, for covering the important issue of the proposal to convert Hove Park School into an academy.

My daughters are in year 10 and in the sixth form at Hove Park School and I am very proud that they took part in the protest against the plan.

The students organised the peaceful demonstration themselves during their lunch break. They have listened to what their teachers have to say and read any information they can find about academies and have reached the conclusion that it is a bad idea for them, for teachers and support staff, for the school and for the community.

Once a school has academy status, it is removed from local authority control and put under direct control of the Department for Education.

This department is ill-equipped to handle the complex needs of local schools across the country and this should not be its role.

Parents would not be able to go to the local authority if they have a problem with the school. Academies can employ unqualified teachers and set individual pay, conditions and working hours for teachers. This leads to a two-tier workforce and problems with staff motivation, morale and retention.

Many parents at Hove Park School and its feeder primary schools still don’t know about the academy plan as very little information has been given to parents.

I understand from the Hands Off Hove Park School campaign that it could be rushed through in a few weeks.

I urge anyone who cares about education in Brighton and Hove to sign a petition on Change.org – http://chn.ge/1jVbQYW – and support the students and parents in their campaign.

Natasha Steel, Hove

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