Join the fight to stop academy plans for Hove Park School

Natasha Steel's picture
I first heard about plans to turn Hove Park School in East Sussex into an academy less than a month ago and already campaigning against it has become a major part of my life. An email from the local branch of the Trades Council alerted me to the plan and an intended meet-up of parents at the school gates the same day to lobby a governors meeting.

We duly turned out - about 30 of us - parents, carers, students, NUT officials, councillors and even a couple of brave teachers. Both my daughters who are in Year 10 and the Sixth Form also turned out I'm proud to say.

We gathered signatures and exchanged emails and started to put a plan into action. Within a day the students had set up a Facebook page - and a vigorous discussion was going on - the advantage of being one of the first schools in the country to rollout iPads to all students (underpinned by local authority credit).

This helped the students rally and organise their own peaceful demonstration during the lunchbreak - over 100 young people were involved and their efforts won coverage in the local paper.

Meanwhile an online petition was set up and has already attracted over 1,000 signatures. Support came in from activists Peter Tatchell and Mark Thomas and local Green MP Caroline Lucas has helped collect petition signatures on the street.

Soon the HPS Campaign had over 100 members and an organising committee was set up. Leaflets have been handed out to local primary schools, letters have been written to the paper, but we are still worried that a lot of parents do not know the full implications of becoming an academy.

Parents are struggling to understand why such a move should be made when the school is one of the most improved (and innovative) in the country - all achieved under local authority control.

Teachers are strongly against the move - a union ballot showed that 91% rejected the plan which will weaken their pay and conditions and could lead to the recruitment of unqualified staff.

To date, the only communication sent out to parents is an inaccurate and clearly biased document that speaks of a 'moral imperative' to become an academy. As parents we still have no indication of how and when the promised consultation will take place and our repeated requests for more information have been met with a wall of silence.

For this reason, tomorrow night, Tuesday 29th April we are holding our own Public Meeting at Bishop Hannington Church, Nevill Avenue, Hove, at 6.30pm. We urge anyone in Brighton & Hove who believes in a fair, equal, high quality state education system to join us and help put this plan where it belongs - in the bin.
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Roger Titcombe's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 16:23

Factfinder - Are you a parent of the school?

Natasha Steel's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 21:24

Mmm I now see why s/he is so preoccupied with finding facts - sometimes they just aren't forthcoming

Roger Titcombe's picture
Sat, 10/05/2014 - 10:10

Factfinder - I only asked because I assumed you were, from your access to the consultation documents. Of course there is no reason why anyone shouldn't comment on this site, you included. I am not a parent of any current school child. I am just a grandparent and a retired teacher with an interest in education.

However if you are not a parent, then I am sure that the parents that are posting on this site would quite like to know if you have any connections with the school, and if so, what they are. It is common in proposed Academies for teachers in predecessor schools to be banned (under threat of dismissal) from expressing views on the future of the school that employs them. Here in Barrow I recall a particular teacher hiding behind a lamppost in order to listen to what was being said at a public meeting of parents outside the town hall. I had every sympathy for him.

Factfinder's picture
Wed, 07/05/2014 - 14:28

agov, I'm not complaining, nor am I failing to understand anything - I'm just looking at it from a different angle. I find your tone quite unnecessarily rude. Just because I choose not to focus on politics doesn't mean I'm not clued up. It just means I'm trying to look at the argument from a different perspective in order to widen the discussion.

agov's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 08:11

Actually, I thought I was being mild.

It's a standard right-wing ploy to pretend to be only seeking understanding while actually obviously supporting an obvious political agenda.

Factfinder's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 10:44

It's a shame you think that way; I'm allowed my opinion and am entitled to participate in the debate. I'm not trying to sway anybody's views to any side; I'm actually very interested in this whole debate. All of the points made are helping to shape my argument; yes, at the moment I support the move, but who knows? If I'm presented with a convincing argument, that could change.

Fran's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 13:03

For someone who is supposedly interested in the debate I notice you do not comment on some of the more blatant arguments put forward from people who are against the change. Shall I summarise on your behalf. People who do not wish the school to change are

1)Hysterical and emotional specimens who are ignorant of the facts.
2)Stupid people who are against progression and still believe the earth is flat.
3)People who take democracy to heart and are deluded in feeling that they deserve to be consulted.
4)Aggressive people who ask too many questions

I am however grateful that in your group discussions it was decided not to call yourself “voice of reason” That would have been even more obvious!

agov's picture
Sat, 10/05/2014 - 07:50

So not that clued up politically then.

From the DfE's 'Governors' Handbook' -

"2.1.1 Rules on constitution
Academies and free schools
Academy trusts have almost complete flexibility to shape their governance arrangements as they see fit. Their arrangements are set out in their individual Articles of Association. Converting to academy status is a good opportunity to review the constitution of the governing body and make changes as necessary to ensure that governance arrangements will be fit for purpose.
An academy trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee. It has two layers of governance:
The members of the trust, who are akin to shareholders and have ultimate control over the direction of the academy trust. They ensure the charitable company achieves its objectives, sign off the financial accounts and annual report, and appoint some of the governors; and
The governors, who are also the directors and trustees of the charitable company. They are responsible for the three core strategic functions outlined in section 1
and ensuring compliance with charity and company law and the academy trust’s funding agreement.
While members can also serve as governors, the most robust governance structures retain at least some distinction between the two groups.
Multi-academy trusts are a single legal entity with one governing body that is accountable for a number of academies in its chain. Each academy may have a local governing body to which the trust’s governing body delegates functions. Alternatively, each academy may have an advisory body that has no delegated functions but advises the trust’s governing body. Local governing bodies and advisory bodies are committees of the trust’s governing body. Their members are not governors, trustees or directors of the academy trust – unless they are also members of the trust’s governing body.
An umbrella trust is an academy trust with its own members and governing body that oversees a number of other academy trusts, each with their own members and governing body. The umbrella trust ensures collaboration through majority or minority control of the appointment of members of individual academy trusts.
A lead sponsor will have majority control of the academy trust by having the right to appoint the majority its members. Likewise, the minority or majority control of the church in a voluntary controlled or voluntary aided school is retained on conversion to academy status through minority or majority control over the appointment of members of the trust.
There are very few requirements relating to the constitution of the governing body in our model Articles of Association. The governing body of an academy trust must include at least two elected parent governors – in a multi-academy trust the parents can be represented at local governing body level or on the trust’s governing body. The principal must be a governor unless he or she chooses not to be. Other than this, academy trusts are free to constitute a governing body in the way they consider is most appropriate for each academy for which they are responsible.
Free schools benefit from the same freedom as other academy trusts. The proposer group need to use the pre-opening period to recruit skilled governors. They should design the structures and reporting arrangements that will drive improvement in their school. We provide pre-opening guidance on governance to every free school proposer group. For university technical colleges there is a requirement that nominees of the employer and university sponsors must together form the majority on the governing body."

So that means, to quote the NUT -

"• Once a school becomes an Academy the elected members of the existing governing body lose all control
and the external sponsors or Academy Trust are allowed to appoint the majority of governors.
• Academies are only obliged to have two parent governors. They are not required to have a teacher governor or staff governor"

Academies can also decide that elected parent governors (- all two of them) can only be elected if they have been approved by the academy.

Factfinder's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 13:31

I've never claimed any of that - as I said earlier, I'm playing Devil's Advocate in a sense, to see how the land lies and where the valid arguments are. A few have been made; others, I've looked into and have proven to be false, ie the idea that the governing body will be cut to only one person.

Everyone is entitled to ask questions, including me. My only upset was at the tone of one message that was a bit snarky; the rest, I've accepted and read thoroughly.

Of course we all deserve a consultation, but at the moment it's only at the 'expression of interest' stage. Perhaps we will get a consultation once the info has been looked at.

I don't feel anyone is against progression - we merely do not agree on how it is made, it seems.

Natasha Steel's picture
Wed, 07/05/2014 - 15:40

I agree with Brian's observations about the way the 'consultation' is being presented to parents. It is highly controlled and parents have to submit their questions by email in advance, ie. BEFORE they hear presentations. Given that the views of those opposing the academy won't be represented at the consultation, and those delivering the presentations will decide which emailed questions will be raised, this leaves parents with such an unsatisfactory opportunity to 'consult', it is hard to see how the word 'consultation' can be used to describe the process.
I'd suggest 'stitch-up' is a better fit.

Mark Radcliffe's picture
Thu, 08/05/2014 - 18:53

I'm a little bemused by 'factfinders' reference to a lack of trust. It would border on impolite to point out that entering an exchange such as this using a pseudonym rather than a name doesn't exactly engender trust and I am never impolite so I will simply observe two things, briefly.
Firstly trust is a two way thing and the lack of trust being shown in the judgement, priorities and understanding of parents by the small SLT at Hove Park is at best disappointing and at worst damaging to the long term sense of community and engagement the school will need in the future in order to thrive.
Secondly the FAQ's listed 'in the brochure' are something of a straw man. Questions around governance and regulation require more than 'we'll have a governing body'. If there is a genuine interest in answering questions I am happy to start with an easy one. 'Are there concerns currently being expressed elsewhere in East Sussex about admission and selection policies in academies?' As the answer is yes the follow up question is quite simply': given that fact, why wouldn't parents be worried about Hove Park School on the same grounds?'
As a more general point It is absurd to premise a conversion on 'The headmaster knows best so whatever he thinks is fine by me.' What happens when s/he moves on? When conditions change? You do not build long term policy around personalities or taste. You base it on the collective well being, the longer term need and the community.

Natasha Steel's picture
Thu, 08/05/2014 - 19:43

Fantastic to witness true democracy in action at Brighton Town Hall tonight. Green Party Councillor Sue Shanks proposed a motion opposing academy schools in principle - and guess what - it was passed - with whoops and cheers from parents in the public gallery. The Greens (obviously) voted 'yes' by 17 votes, the Conservatives (obviously) voted 'no' by 14 votes but the 12 Labour councillors abstained after having their amendment rejected.

Maybe something for Mr Trimmer and his team to consider - not everyone agrees with you!

Roger Titcombe's picture
Thu, 08/05/2014 - 20:30

This is indeed inspiring. It encourages me in my belief that something deep is indeed stirring in the national parental consciousness of education and the bluff is being called on two decades of skilfully orchestrated propaganda.

Good for the Greens.

Natasha Steel's picture
Thu, 08/05/2014 - 20:39

That council motion in full - “This council is opposed in principle to academy status as advocated by current and previous national governments and is therefore concerned that one of our secondary schools, Hove Park, is considering opting to be an academy.
“This council believes that a policy to privatise education removes the ability of the local authority to fulfil its statutory duty of planning school places and supporting school improvement.
“This Council recognise the improvements that have been made in all its schools, and support parents and unions in calling for our community’s schools to remain under the democratic aegis of the local authority.”

Gillian Howard's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 08:46

My daughter is in year 10 at Hove Park school and yesterday she attended an assembley about Hove Park becoming and Academy. She said that 3 students were picked to talk about the benefits, they did acknowledge there was some opposition but highlighted that it was all good news. Any students who had an opposing view did not have a chance to speak, and no one was allowed to ask a question. Sudents were told they could send in an email. This is yet another example of propogander rather than consultation and it is unfair to try and manipulate children in this way.

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 09:59

Gillian - the school could be in breach of The Education Act 1996. This requires governing bodies, headteachers and local education authorities to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that, where political or controversial issues are brought to learners’ attention, they are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views. See here for more information.

John Mountford's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 10:22

Janet, I have taken the opportunity to copy the relevant section of the advice from your link in such matters. I believe this confirms the situation regarding the propriety of this latest development at Hove Park.

" .... it is important for teachers to distinguish their role as private citizens from their role as public educators. Teachers are forbidden by law from promoting partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in schools.

Section 407 of the Education Act 1996 requires school governing bodies, head teachers and local education authorities to take all reasonably practical steps to ensure that, where political or controversial issues (such as UK military interventions) are brought to pupils' attention, they 'are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views'.

In practice, this means:

giving equal importance to conflicting views and opinions;
presenting all information and opinion as open to interpretation, qualification and contradiction;
establishing a classroom climate in which all pupils are free to express sincerely held views without fear.
It also means teachers seeking to avoid unintentional bias by:

not presenting opinions as if they are facts;
not setting themselves up as the sole authority on a subject;
as far as possible, not giving their own accounts of the views of others, but, rather, letting the actual claims and assertions of protagonists speak for themselves;
not revealing their own preferences in unconscious ways, e.g., facial expressions, gestures or tone of voice;
not implying a correct opinion through their choice of respondents in a discussion;
not failing to challenge a one-sided consensus that emerges too quickly in the classroom.
In cases of international conflict, such as that of Iraq, teachers should be aware that the range of opinion is often far wider than that which is represented in the western media. Wherever possible, it is important to make pupils aware of the sorts of views and arguments that are found in non-western media as well.

Similarly, teachers should resist the inclination to promote attitudes that apparently reflect prevailing public opinion to the detriment of minority views. Where public opinion on an issue is particularly vocal, this can be difficult to achieve.

Nevertheless, it is not the job of the teacher to side with majority opinion, but to subject all views to rational criticism."

As it stands, I for one believe that the school may be in breach of The Education Act 1996. This development has the potential to challenge the actions of the school unless an opportunity was provided for alternative views to be represented at the assembly.

I said at the outset that this story had he potential to run and run. This is now a racing certainty. What is at risk is nothing less than our democratic legacy as a nation.

Ed's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 14:27

Thanks Janet and Gill

This is indeed a very serious breach and I have formally reported this to the Chair of govenors for investigation and possible reporting to Ofsted following his investigation.

Natasha Steel's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 16:46

Thanks Ed - much appreciated! I wish parents were protected from unbalanced presentation too - no doubt we've got more of the same to look forward to next week.

Francesca Garlake's picture
Mon, 12/05/2014 - 09:28

I have emailed school, to say I don’t want my child (year 9) to attend any “consultation” sessions, due to their political bias. They have agreed that he does not have to do so.

Natasha Steel's picture
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 13:09

Gillian's comments are very worrying indeed. Hove Park School's failure to provide a balanced view to students is creeping into censorship. I have it on good authority that the local newspaper was removed from the school library where coverage was not necessarily favourable. Even Orwell probably never imagined the Brighton Argus could be so incendiary.

Natasha Steel's picture
Mon, 12/05/2014 - 21:09

We've got a new website where you can find out more about the academy plan for Hove Park School and listen to the campaign's new song (warning - it's very catchy)

Anon's picture
Mon, 12/05/2014 - 21:52

God you talk out of your arse. You've got no idea.

agov's picture
Tue, 13/05/2014 - 07:18

Were you seeking a theological website?

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 27/05/2014 - 11:48

Thanks, David. It would be interesting to know who would be the "executive principal" of the proposed multi-academy trust. Being in a MAT is made to sound good - "joint staffing posts", for example. Does this mean one member of staff travelling between several schools to teach, say, music? And why does the head need the school to become an academy in order to bring in "best practice nationally". "Best practice" isn't confined to academies.

I'm puzzled about this "partnership money" referred to by the head. He says academy "freedom" would allow him greater control over this partnership money (whatever it is - it would be interesting to know the source). He says the school was partnered with Perry Beeches in Birmingham. That's a long way from Brighton. Is the head saying he had no choice but to work with Perry Beeches because it was a string attached to the funding?

agov's picture
Tue, 27/05/2014 - 11:51

So he, sorry they, hope that perhaps a multi-academy trust will come about at some point in the future so that -

"everybody had the same interest in ensuring that all children from all of the schools in the partnership had the same access to a world class education."

Presumably everybody not in his non-existent multi-academy trust could not possibly have an interest in ensuring that all children have access to a world class education.

HPS student's picture
Wed, 28/05/2014 - 16:21

Most of the schools in the UK are already academies, this battle should have been fought a long time ago. Mr trimmer is clearly very good at what he does concidering the amount of progress our school had made so far In the few years he has been here, I really doubt he is going to do anything to jepordise all of his hard work. As a lot of you probabaly already know our school is not in a great condition and is in real need of an injection of cash and if mr trimmer believes that the way forward to do this is to covert then I think we should support him in his decisions and have proper conversations with the senior leadership team instead of a group of loud mouth parents gathering their friends and running off of the press.

David Barry's picture
Wed, 28/05/2014 - 22:55

Actually "most" schools are not Academies: No doubt someone else visiting this site has the exact figures.

I have to say that describing people who disagree with you as "loudmouths" does not pre dispose me in your favour.

HPS student's picture
Wed, 28/05/2014 - 23:01

According to this 63% of UK secondary schools are now open as academies or free schools.

Roger Titcombe's picture
Thu, 29/05/2014 - 05:01

HPS student - Yes, and more significantly still the trend is for them is to increasingly be controlled by 'chains' which are companies that make profits even if on paper the profits do not appear to made from the taxpayer funding of the schools they control.

Such chains adopt the 'executive', high pay, bonus culture of the commercial world where 'corporate managerialism' has evolved into an entirely baseless and flawed learning theory of its own, albeit a lucrative one for the new educational 'executives'. New 'chains' are being set up all the time in a flood of educational entrepreneurialism. It appears that your school leaders have such ambitions.

Students do not benefit from being taught in an institution or chain of institutions where teaching and learning is based on a false view of the process of learning. My view is that the entire English education system is in the process of being so corrupted. If I am right it is students like you and those that follow you that will be the greatest losers. I am writing a book on the subject. It is like putting out to sea in ships designed by people that do not understand the (profoundly counter-intuitive) Principle of Archimedes.

The issue you as a hopefully idealistic student should be concerned with is whether this is 'a good thing', not just for your school, but for the education system in general. The 'loudmouth' parents of you and your fellow students are entitled to their views on this. I am a 67 year-old retired teacher. I am deeply sceptical of the sort of 'school improvement' that your school leaders are seeking to achieve. I doubt that it results in deeper learning and wiser school leavers better prepared for life's challenges.. You are to be admired for taking an active interest.

My advice is take your studies to a deeper level.

agov's picture
Thu, 29/05/2014 - 08:15

According to this less than most of the schools in the UK are not secondary schools.

Ed's picture
Thu, 29/05/2014 - 09:04

I don't know what year you are in so I will make some allowances.

I would advise that you consider the terms critical thinking and a balanced debate before you call people loudmouths

The recent so called consultation may just as well have been advertised as an invitation to a Bar Mitzvah it was so far away from what it turned out to be.

Fortunately the governors of the school ( I have now met some) are aware enough to know that this is not about if Mr Trimmer has done a good job, and is more about the future of the school/community.

Natasha Steel's picture
Thu, 29/05/2014 - 14:28

These loudmouth parents have now got the possibility of a ballot to find out what people really think - so it was worth being loud after all. The council's children's committee is meeting on 2 June and will consider the possibility

Other news is that elections for the missing three parent governors are likely to take place soon following intervention from the local authority - again thanks to us loudmouths.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 29/05/2014 - 15:25

Natasha - unfortunately it's the case that parents who oppose academisation are branded "Trotskyites" and "loudmouths" but those who propose a free school are praised as plucky pioneers exercising freedom.

agov's picture
Fri, 30/05/2014 - 07:28

It seems the school's governing body ignored its duty to hold parent governor elections and the local authority had to step in and do the governors job for them.

Rather than be trying to take over other schools perhaps the governors should consider letting more diligent people take over and focus on improving education for the school's own children.

Natasha Steel's picture
Tue, 03/06/2014 - 10:56

Brighton & Hove councillors agreed to hold a ballot of Hove Park School parents on the academy plan yesterday. Green and Labour councillors voted in favour at a meeting of the council's Children & Young People Committee. The school's leadership team and governing body has rejected this idea from the start so parents are delighted that governors will have to consider the result of the ballot.

David Barry's picture
Mon, 09/06/2014 - 15:29

A news item from the latest Hove Park newsletter confirming the detail of the ballot:

Councillor Sue Shanks, Chair of Brighton & Hove‘s Children and Young People Committee, has told Hands Off Hove Park School (HOHPS) that a ballot for parents will take place in the next few weeks and certainly before the end of the summer term. The welcome decision to ballot parents was taken in a meeting of the Children & Young Peoples Committee at the Council on Monday 2nd June. The majority of councilors present felt it was important to give parents the opportunity to have their say in this way even though the school has continued to refuse to do so as part of its consultation. "

David Barry's picture
Tue, 03/06/2014 - 11:12


Any news on the Parent Governor elections?

Natasha Steel's picture
Tue, 03/06/2014 - 15:00

No news David - we haven't had any hint that the school intends to hold these elections imminently - even with the intervention of the local authority - it's appalling really.
I very much hope that the governors don't hold their vote on the academy plan this term, given that the ballot now needs to be carried out and they are obliged to give the result due consideration. If the vote is postponed, of course, this makes it more likely that the new parent governors will be elected by the time it is carried out. We'll keep on fighting.

David Barry's picture
Mon, 09/06/2014 - 15:32

And it seems you DID get the vote postponed:

From the recent campaign newsletter:

"ACADEMY STATUS DECISION POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER Parents were pleased to receive the most recent letter from HPS Chair of Governors, Mr. Mike Nicholls, outlining the decision to postpone a vote on academy status until 22 September. The decision to postpone comes after campaigning by parents for a ballot and election of parent governors. Parents were alarmed and shocked that the school was considering opening as an academy as early as September after realizing that the proposal was both flawed and misleading by presenting parents with untrue claims that academy status will bring money for much needed new buildings into the school. Parents are still very worried that governors are being pushed to decide on the issue when there is no evidence to support benefits of academy status but many risks associated with it. We hope that this sensible postponement will allow the governors to assess the risks and uncertainties that come with proposal and really scrutinize whether there are any real, evidenced benefits for young people and families across Brighton and Hove."

David Barry's picture
Tue, 03/06/2014 - 19:58


I suppose the council may feel that running a vote amongst parents with a straightforward question on the Academy issue may have a higher priority than running a parent governor election which at this stage would also take on many of the characteristics of a referendum...

However for the school to be already denying the right of parents to choose their own representatives, is premature. You have to be an Academy (or a Free School) to be able to do THAT. So I hope the issue not lost sight of.

On a different point I was struck by one quote in the report of the Council's decision to hold the ballot:

"Conservative councillor Andrew Wealls did not support the ballot and said the move towards all schools becoming academies would continue regardless of the result."

Natasha Steel's picture
Thu, 05/06/2014 - 21:17

David, I don't think it's an either/or with the ballot and the governor elections - both are being pursued by parents, council and local authority as far as I can see. The school's leadership team and governing body are the only ones not supporting it.
Indeed senior members of staff are currently engaged in a telephone consultation exercise of their own where they cold call parents to find out if they're in favour of the academy - I assume no small amount of one-sided persuasion is used where they are uncertain - if the consultation evenings I attended are anything to go by.
I'd be interested to know what powers the LA has in terms of forcing the proper constitution of the governing body. It would appear that a vote on academy status - the biggest one a governing body is ever likely to take - could technically take place without it.
In my view Councillor Wealls' comment relates directly to Michael Gove's target of 100% conversion and how important pushing the conversion of Hove Park through is to them in terms of loosening the grip of the local authority in B&H. All I can say is - not on my watch! Watching the antics and ethos of the DfE unravel in recent weeks, I wouldn't give him a bookshelf to look after, much less a national programme of state education.

agov's picture
Fri, 06/06/2014 - 08:12

You can contact B&H local authority directly to ask them (i.e. officials) what they will do about the school's failure to hold elections. Alternatively, make an appointment to meet one of the councillors elected for the ward in which you live and discuss it with them.

David Barry's picture
Mon, 09/06/2014 - 15:27

I put myself on the Hove Park campaign emailing list, and so have just had the first issue of their newsletter. It was good to see this item in it:-

"SCHOOL TO HOLD ELECTIONS FOR MISSING PARENT GOVERNORS Following the discovery by HOHPS that Hove Park School has 3 parent governor vacancies unfilled (including one which has been vacant since last December) the school will now have to hold elections before the end of this term to fill these vacancies before any decision on academy status can be made. The school was going to push ahead in deciding on academy status without a full quota of parent governors, meaning parents were set to be seriously under-represented in any vote on the issue. Following complaints about this to Brighton & Hove’s Director of Education, the school is now set to hold elections before term ends. Look out for information on this from the school and make sure you vote for the parents you think will best represent you. "

Natasha Steel's picture
Tue, 10/06/2014 - 13:09

The other news is that the governors' vote has been pushed back to September. Given that the SLT wanted to open as an academy in September, we hope that this means the governors are giving some of the very serious issues that we've raised the consideration they're due.

Natasha Steel's picture
Thu, 25/09/2014 - 07:53

We won! Hove Park governors vote against academy conversion 17-0

Statement from Hands Off Hove Park School campaign group:

“The parents, carers and members of the community that make up Hands Off Hove Park School are delighted and thrilled that the governors have ultimately made the right decision and voted no to academy status. This is an excellent result for the whole of this school community but also for all schools across Brighton & Hove.

Mr Trimmer and the Governing Body have clearly recognised that the reality of academies is that they weaken governance and accountability and offer nothing in terms of raising standards or improving the educational environment for children, parents, teachers and communities.

When the proposal to become an academy was first made in March a lot of people thought it was a done deal. We have to thank all the students, parents, teachers, city council, trade unions and other community members that kept faith with our campaign.

Together we have made banners, written letters, composed songs, tweeted, posted, marched, rallied, lobbied, laughed, performed, donated, banged wheelie bins and stood at the school gates night after night to ensure this conversion didn’t take place.At times it has taken over our lives but it has brought us together as a loud and strong collective voice. It has demonstrated that Hove Park has a fantastic community who clearly care about the school and the education of all children in the community, regardless of background or ability.

We hope other parents across the country involved in similar battles against the deregulation of state education will draw encouragement and hope from our campaign. We hope that people will take similar action where the public services they cherish and depend on are threatened. It’s been hard work but it’s been a lot of fun.

As a vibrant and active parent group, we can now look forward to directing our energy into supporting the school to ensure it continues on an upwards trajectory, helping tobuild on the improvements that have already been made in the last few years for the benefit of current Hove Park students and generations to come.”

Roger Titcombe's picture
Thu, 25/09/2014 - 10:10

Natasha - This is indeed great news. Such victories have been rare. This suggests that a tipping point on Academies and Free Schools in terms of public opinion appears to be approaching.

A much bolder approach from Tristram Hunt and Ed Milliband is both justified and needed.

jennyquestions's picture
Thu, 25/09/2014 - 22:07

This has cheered me up tonight. And for further reading on the 'tipping point' please see: with added comments!

John Mountford's picture
Thu, 25/09/2014 - 19:31

Well done to all those involved. It is a victory worthy of comment from all the major media outlets BUT that isn't going to happen. Neither will Mllliband and Hunt do as Roger suggests and adopt a bolder approach.

It will be up to ordinary people like Natasha and her many determined colleagues to make sure other parents and voters in communities all over the country understand how important it is that we take action to remove education from the control of political parties.

Natasha Steel's picture
Fri, 26/09/2014 - 06:18

Thank you to LSN for excellent support and advice during our campaign. Check out today's Independent John - comment and news piece on Hove Park campaign. Here are the links:
For more press coverage, including footage from the night of the governors vote, please check out Hands Off Hove Park School's website


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