Pupils plan protest over Hove Park School academy plan

By Ben James, The Argus, 6th April

More than 100 students staged a protest pleading with school bosses to call off a proposed conversion to academy status.

The youngsters from Hove Park School took to the playing fields with banners and signs stating their opposition to the move.

They also started a petition and at the time of going to press had collected more than 200 signatures.

Students demonstrate peacefully during their lunchbreak

Students demonstrate peacefully during their lunch break

On Monday school governors voted to press forward with plans after the academy idea was mooted by headteacher Derek Trimmer last month.

The plans have taken teachers, parents and pupils by surprise with the school recently named as one of the most improved in the country.

Over the last few years the number of pupils achieving five GCSEs at A* to C went up by 25%.

Daisie Morris, 18, a second year A-Level student said: “It all went really well. There is always the fear that people will use it as an opportunity to cause trouble, but they didn’t.

“We just wanted to make our voices heard. We are like a community here – that’s what I love about Hove Park. We care about this school and we wanted people to know that.”

She added: “A lot of people don’t know about what is happening and that is a problem.

“We haven’t been spoken to about any of this, we haven’t been consulted.

“I don’t see why they want to go ahead with it. This is a great school to be a student at. It goes back to the old saying if it aint broke don’t fix it.”

Maddie Hodgson, 18, was also at the protest.

Speaking to The Argus she said students feared the school would lose links with neighbouring schools if they were taken out of local authority control.

She said: “One of the really good things at the school is the link we have with Blatchington Mill. We have some of our lessons over there and have friends there. If we become an academy we will lose that link and I think that is really sad.

“Another worry is that the school will lose its best teachers.

“I haven’t spoken to a teacher who is for the move and if it goes ahead the fear is we will lose them.”

She added: “It’s a fantastic school and the teaching is brilliant. I’m doing really well at the moment and I don’t want that to change.”

The school is carrying out a period of consultation before a final vote on whether to formally apply to the Department of Education.

Unions have said strike action is “on the horizon” if the school does not fully consult parents and staff.

 

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