Letter to governors: No appetite for academy – now let staff and students focus on education and learning

Dear Mike Nicholls, Chair of Governors and HPS Governing Body,

Events of the last few days have demonstrated a very clear and strong opposition to the proposed academy conversion at Hove Park School amongst a broad range of the local community including parents, carers, local elected representatives, teachers, students, local residents and the City Council.  Outcomes of these events  include:  71% of  families /households voting no to academy conversion in the Council-run parent ballot; the landslide victory of anti-academy candidates resulting in the election of three parent governors  opposed to conversion; and the strike action of NUT members resulting in the school closure on Wednesday.

These results demonstrate that Brighton & Hove has no appetite for a convertor academy and would rather its community schools  remain as just that under the scrutiny and accountability of a local, democratically elected authority. To choose to dismiss these outcomes is a choice to dismiss the views of the very community this school exists to serve.

With so many key stakeholders opposed to the proposal to convert, and with so little evidence to support it, and with so many unanswered questions as a result of the consultation process, it is very hard to find any reasonable or compelling justification for continuing the distraction of pursuing the unpopular academy route any further.

We are told the final decision on this will be made at a meeting of the governors on 22nd September, but this will result in a further two months of instability in which students, parents, teachers and the local authority will face further uncertainty as to the direction of the school, which can only be damaging to students’ education and the school itself.

The parents and carers campaigning with Hands Off Hove Park School call upon the governors of the school to bring an end to this period of instability by stating immediately that the plans to turn Hove Park into an academy have been withdrawn. This, we believe, will mean that all concerned will be able to end the school year in the knowledge that the issue is at an end, and students and staff can look forward to a new school year with their focus on education and learning and the school leadership team can return to the job of running and continuing to improve the school.

This would mean we can all put our energy into working  together and do  all we can to ensure the school achieves the best possible outcomes and results for those who attend it, which we are sure is what the governors and senior leadership team desire as much as anyone.

We look forward to your immediate response.

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