Over 1,000 sign petition to oppose academy move

By Ben James, The Argus, 25th April

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition against a school’s potential academy move.

Opposition has grown since senior staff at the improving Hove Park School last month announced the move is being considered.

Letters of objection have been sent by high profile names including Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Sharon Duggal, from the Hands off Hove Park School Group, said parents, pupils and the local community are against the move.

During the Easter holidays parents received a brochure in the post outlining plans for the academy after governors at Hove Park, which has been named as one of the top improving schools in the country, agreed to express an interest in the move.

Ms Duggal said: “This leaflet reads as a done deal – obviously a lot of attention has gone into this behind the backs of parents and students and probably teachers.

“There is nothing about how it will benefit local children, families and com- munities – instead it talks about a ‘moral imperative’ to take the school in this direction – surely there is nothing moral about turning a local school into a business without properly involving the people that matter in the decision.”

The campaign group has called a public meeting on April 29 at 6.30pm at Bishop Hannington Church, Nevill Avenue, Hove.

School headteacher Derek Trimmer, chairman of governors Mike Nicholls and parent governors have all been invited to speak but have not yet responded.

Student representatives, parent speakers, union leaders and Brighton and Hove City Council lead member for children and young people, Sue Shanks, will all speak at the event.

A school spokeswoman said: “Hove Park is committed to consulting fully with parents, carers, staff and students over academy status. We have sent out a provisional timeline that sets out how we will be collecting feedback.

“The final decision over the status of the school sits with the governing body which is made up of staff, parents, carers and representatives from the community and local authority.”

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