By Henry Holloway, The Argus, 9th May 2014
Protesters gathered outside a school as it hosted a conference featuring the Secretary of State for Education.
Michael Gove spoke about state and public schools at the 17th Annual Education Conference at Brighton College yesterday.
Campaigners from Unison, Left Unity and Hands Off Hove Park gathered outside the gates of the school, demonstrating against “back door privatisation”.
The other speakers at the conference were former president of the FIA Max Mosley, former cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, historian and author Anne Applebaum and professor of government Anthony King.
Mr Gove discussed the current debate around the proposals for Hove Park School to become an academy, saying he had faith in the headteacher to make the best decision.
He said: “At Hove Park there is a headteacher who has dramatically improved the performance of the school academically. It is his judgement that the school would benefit if it went for academy status and that decision will be for the governors to take.”
Vocal protesters gathered in the rain to show their support for Hove Park School remaining a local authority school.
Alex Knutsen, Unison Brighton and Hove branch secretary, said: “Our education is not for sale. We will fight the attempts to make an academy out of Hove Park every step of the way.
“It is an outstanding school that should stay in the local authority.”
Bella Wheeler, who has a child in Year 7 at Hove Park , said: “We think schools should stay in local hands.
“Handing schools over to sponsorship is essentially back door privatisation and our children’s education will suffer as a result.”
Mr Gove praised Mr Cairns’ decision to make history compulsory, however he said it would be difficult to mandate such a change from central Government.