Hove Park School academy plans could spark teachers' strike across Brighton and Hove

Hove Park School

Hove Park School

First published in News by

Union leaders have warned of a  teacher strike across Brighton and Hove unless an improving school drops plans for academy conversion.

The potential walkout has been put forward by both Unison and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) after it was revealed management at Hove Park School were “considering” a move to academy status.

The school is one of the country's most improved over the last few years with the number of students achieving five GCSEs at A* to C up by 25%.

This puts them in the top 2% of improving state schools nationally.

Alex Knutsen, from Unison, said: “The question our members want to know is why? The school has made vast improvements over recent years.

“From speaking to staff this is not something they want.”

The Brighton and Hove branch chairman added: “This is where we are going to draw the line.

“We've already got Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, Portslade Aldridge Community Academy and Whitehawk Primary.

“This is an issue that affects teachers and staff across the city.”

Paul Shellard, from the NUT, added: “We don't want education to be deregulated.

“This would mean the school would be out of local democratic control and leave those in charge able to control such things as pay and conditions of our members.

“The school has achieved all these improvements with the local authority and we think that should continue.”

Hove Park head teacher Derek Trimmer held a meeting with staff on Tuesday (March 11) in which he is reported to have spoken about a potential academy move.

A meeting of the two unions followed on Thursday at which a ballot on whether staff were for or against the move was launched. The results are expected on Wednesday.

Union leaders from both Unison and NUT are now set to meet with the chairman of governors and the headteacher on Monday.

Mr Trimmer told The Argus the improving school “needed to move onto the next level” adding that academy status provided the freedom to achieve the goal.

He said: “If we look to become an academy, it will be about us having the power to shape our own future.

“It will be about partnerships and having the capacity to support other schools. It will be about raising aspiration and ambitions, and ultimately, about the children.

“Hove Park School has moved on so far in the past three years. You can't keep being the most improved school. We need to move on to the next level and Academy status brings greater freedoms to enable this.

“We have got to picture a future when all schools could be academies. I don't want to be one of the last ones and have to join someone else's academy. I want to lead the way.”

Academies have attracted controversy ever since they introduced by Tony Blair's Labour government.

Although state-funded they act as independent from local authority control.

As a result they have more freedom with regards their finances, curriculum and term dates.

They can also opt out of national pay and conditions for teachers.

Brighton and Hove schools have largely avoided conversion with just two of the city's 10 secondary's now academies: Brighton Aldridge Community Academy and Portslade Aldridge Community Academy.

Mr Knutsen said: “We never want to go on strike, but this is huge issue for our members.

“We will have to wait and see what the next move is from the governors and the head before anything is decided.

“However, if they chose to go ahead we will ballot members across the city on industrial action.

“It's not only Hove Park, we are hearing rumours of other schools considering academy status. We need to draw a line.”

Mr Shellard, NUT Brighton and Hove branch secretary, added: “With the other two city academies, problems had been identified. But Hove Park is different, it is an improving school and would therefore be the first to voluntarily put forward for academy status.

“It's symbolic and we have to show there are other options.

“Nothing has been decided but giving the teachers across the city the option to take industrial action is a possibility.”

Last night pupils were sent home with letters from the chairman of governors, Mike Nicholls.

In it he said the school was beginning a period of “self-review” in which they would consider a move to academy status.

He added: “Should the governing body decide to express an interest in becoming an academy parents and carers will of course be fully consulted.”

Comments (27)

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9:57am Tue 18 Mar 14

pwlr1966 says...

BAD BAD MOVE
BAD BAD MOVE pwlr1966
  • Score: 17

10:30am Tue 18 Mar 14

LB says...

They should keep the management's focus on continuing improvement, not a pointless move to academy status.
They should keep the management's focus on continuing improvement, not a pointless move to academy status. LB
  • Score: 22

10:32am Tue 18 Mar 14

andrewedmondson says...

Just one more step towards the fragmented education system the government wants. Dumb.
Just one more step towards the fragmented education system the government wants. Dumb. andrewedmondson
  • Score: 17

10:44am Tue 18 Mar 14

hove park parent says...

When Hove Park School was failing a few years ago the local authority intervened at parents' request. Whose responsibility is it if/when an academy fails?
When Hove Park School was failing a few years ago the local authority intervened at parents' request. Whose responsibility is it if/when an academy fails? hove park parent
  • Score: 27

10:47am Tue 18 Mar 14

whatone says...

The privatisation of our education system rumbles on.

And you don't have to look hard to find the corruption that often follows academisation as the government's corporate chums cash in!

And the promise of a 'consultation' is just a sick joke - because once the decision has been made there is no democratic process to challenge it!
The privatisation of our education system rumbles on. And you don't have to look hard to find the corruption that often follows academisation as the government's corporate chums cash in! And the promise of a 'consultation' is just a sick joke - because once the decision has been made there is no democratic process to challenge it! whatone
  • Score: 18

10:54am Tue 18 Mar 14

Valerie Paynter says...

Who is Derek Trimmer to assume power on THIS level? He is just the Head Teacher. Why should parents and teachers be compelled to follow this Trojan Horse into such a radical change.

It is a territorial grab for a Tory ideology. Like Putin grabbing Crimea.
Who is Derek Trimmer to assume power on THIS level? He is just the Head Teacher. Why should parents and teachers be compelled to follow this Trojan Horse into such a radical change. It is a territorial grab for a Tory ideology. Like Putin grabbing Crimea. Valerie Paynter
  • Score: -5

11:48am Tue 18 Mar 14

Quiterie says...

Valerie Paynter wrote:
Who is Derek Trimmer to assume power on THIS level? He is just the Head Teacher. Why should parents and teachers be compelled to follow this Trojan Horse into such a radical change.

It is a territorial grab for a Tory ideology. Like Putin grabbing Crimea.
Not quite like Putin grabbing Crimea. Although I have never seen Derek Trimmer and Putin together at the same time........
[quote][p][bold]Valerie Paynter[/bold] wrote: Who is Derek Trimmer to assume power on THIS level? He is just the Head Teacher. Why should parents and teachers be compelled to follow this Trojan Horse into such a radical change. It is a territorial grab for a Tory ideology. Like Putin grabbing Crimea.[/p][/quote]Not quite like Putin grabbing Crimea. Although I have never seen Derek Trimmer and Putin together at the same time........ Quiterie
  • Score: 17

12:12pm Tue 18 Mar 14

derekhunt says...

hove park parent wrote:
When Hove Park School was failing a few years ago the local authority intervened at parents' request. Whose responsibility is it if/when an academy fails?
It'll be the Academy's responsibility
[quote][p][bold]hove park parent[/bold] wrote: When Hove Park School was failing a few years ago the local authority intervened at parents' request. Whose responsibility is it if/when an academy fails?[/p][/quote]It'll be the Academy's responsibility derekhunt
  • Score: 8

1:11pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Number Six says...

Perhaps they should ask the parents what they want. It is their children's education, after all. Or is that a bit too radical?
Perhaps they should ask the parents what they want. It is their children's education, after all. Or is that a bit too radical? Number Six
  • Score: 18

1:13pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Number Six says...

whatone wrote:
The privatisation of our education system rumbles on.

And you don't have to look hard to find the corruption that often follows academisation as the government's corporate chums cash in!

And the promise of a 'consultation' is just a sick joke - because once the decision has been made there is no democratic process to challenge it!
Sorry to disillusion you but it was Blair's government that brought this in, wasn't it?
[quote][p][bold]whatone[/bold] wrote: The privatisation of our education system rumbles on. And you don't have to look hard to find the corruption that often follows academisation as the government's corporate chums cash in! And the promise of a 'consultation' is just a sick joke - because once the decision has been made there is no democratic process to challenge it![/p][/quote]Sorry to disillusion you but it was Blair's government that brought this in, wasn't it? Number Six
  • Score: 13

1:16pm Tue 18 Mar 14

From beer to uncertainty says...

Academies are a busted flush. Simply a way of filtering out thick and and bright underprivileged children from job interviews just by word-searching their CVs and binning them.
Academies are a busted flush. Simply a way of filtering out thick and and bright underprivileged children from job interviews just by word-searching their CVs and binning them. From beer to uncertainty
  • Score: -1

1:24pm Tue 18 Mar 14

whatone says...

Number Six wrote:
whatone wrote:
The privatisation of our education system rumbles on.

And you don't have to look hard to find the corruption that often follows academisation as the government's corporate chums cash in!

And the promise of a 'consultation' is just a sick joke - because once the decision has been made there is no democratic process to challenge it!
Sorry to disillusion you but it was Blair's government that brought this in, wasn't it?
Sorry to disillusion you, but can you point out where I mentioned a particular political party?

It is a fact that this administration has not only accelerated the process, but also made it undemocratic by denying interested parties a vote.

I suggest you look up the Academies Act 2010!
[quote][p][bold]Number Six[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]whatone[/bold] wrote: The privatisation of our education system rumbles on. And you don't have to look hard to find the corruption that often follows academisation as the government's corporate chums cash in! And the promise of a 'consultation' is just a sick joke - because once the decision has been made there is no democratic process to challenge it![/p][/quote]Sorry to disillusion you but it was Blair's government that brought this in, wasn't it?[/p][/quote]Sorry to disillusion you, but can you point out where I mentioned a particular political party? It is a fact that this administration has not only accelerated the process, but also made it undemocratic by denying interested parties a vote. I suggest you look up the Academies Act 2010! whatone
  • Score: 3

3:05pm Tue 18 Mar 14

voiceofthescoombe says...

If you want a shiny new school building its the only way.
Pity the title deeds go to the academy so you can sell the land to a holding company and then pay rent for the school.
At least maggie people paid cash not very much for state assets this is a give away.
If you want a shiny new school building its the only way. Pity the title deeds go to the academy so you can sell the land to a holding company and then pay rent for the school. At least maggie people paid cash not very much for state assets this is a give away. voiceofthescoombe
  • Score: 0

3:34pm Tue 18 Mar 14

jagiwatch says...

Yet another bright idea from Mr Trimmer .. no doubt it will cost parents more money some where along the line!
Yet another bright idea from Mr Trimmer .. no doubt it will cost parents more money some where along the line! jagiwatch
  • Score: 3

4:08pm Tue 18 Mar 14

LB says...

Number Six wrote:
Perhaps they should ask the parents what they want. It is their children's education, after all. Or is that a bit too radical?
the thing is that they're making a decision for all future children that might attend the school so there' a good reason to have a more widespread community debate than just the current parents?
[quote][p][bold]Number Six[/bold] wrote: Perhaps they should ask the parents what they want. It is their children's education, after all. Or is that a bit too radical?[/p][/quote]the thing is that they're making a decision for all future children that might attend the school so there' a good reason to have a more widespread community debate than just the current parents? LB
  • Score: 4

4:46pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Number Six says...

LB wrote:
Number Six wrote:
Perhaps they should ask the parents what they want. It is their children's education, after all. Or is that a bit too radical?
the thing is that they're making a decision for all future children that might attend the school so there' a good reason to have a more widespread community debate than just the current parents?
Fair comment. I didn't phrase that very well, did I? I think I mean it's up to the community to decide, no one else.
[quote][p][bold]LB[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Number Six[/bold] wrote: Perhaps they should ask the parents what they want. It is their children's education, after all. Or is that a bit too radical?[/p][/quote]the thing is that they're making a decision for all future children that might attend the school so there' a good reason to have a more widespread community debate than just the current parents?[/p][/quote]Fair comment. I didn't phrase that very well, did I? I think I mean it's up to the community to decide, no one else. Number Six
  • Score: 5

5:12pm Tue 18 Mar 14

melee says...

What a terrible idea. Our daughter has just started at Hove Park after escaping a disastrous experience at an academy. Thankfully she is now doing very well and we couldn't be more pleased.
Someone else mentioned the 'consultation' being a joke. I can confirm that this was very true in our previous school. We were told there would be a consultation but they only gave us a few weeks over the Christmas holidays in which to make our views known! By the time we received the letter half the time had elapsed anyway which I'm pretty sure was deliberate.
What a terrible idea. Our daughter has just started at Hove Park after escaping a disastrous experience at an academy. Thankfully she is now doing very well and we couldn't be more pleased. Someone else mentioned the 'consultation' being a joke. I can confirm that this was very true in our previous school. We were told there would be a consultation but they only gave us a few weeks over the Christmas holidays in which to make our views known! By the time we received the letter half the time had elapsed anyway which I'm pretty sure was deliberate. melee
  • Score: 14

5:19pm Tue 18 Mar 14

ourcoalition says...

Recent consultation in a London School resulted in 86% against it becoming an Academy - outcome - it became an Academy!! So much for democracy.
Recent consultation in a London School resulted in 86% against it becoming an Academy - outcome - it became an Academy!! So much for democracy. ourcoalition
  • Score: 10

5:33pm Tue 18 Mar 14

fredflintstone1 says...

Another case of educational empire-building? Why are heads today so incapable of focusing on the pupils in their schools, seeking instead to expand and rebrand like power-crazed CEOs? Could it be because they're paid according to the number of pupils that they preside over - which will then have a knock-on effect on their pensions?

If Mr Trimmer wants to move on to the next level as he claims, here's the answer:-

Simply get on and ensure all your pupils get the best possible results. Are they all getting 5 x A*-C grades at GCSE? No. That's your challenge. You've only got just over 6 out of 10 pupils to this level. Concentrate on what you are paid to do.

Why do we need all this constant disruption in the status of schools to satisfy the selfish ambitions of those at the top??
Another case of educational empire-building? Why are heads today so incapable of focusing on the pupils in their schools, seeking instead to expand and rebrand like power-crazed CEOs? Could it be because they're paid according to the number of pupils that they preside over - which will then have a knock-on effect on their pensions? If Mr Trimmer wants to move on to the next level as he claims, here's the answer:- Simply get on and ensure all your pupils get the best possible results. Are they all getting 5 x A*-C grades at GCSE? No. That's your challenge. You've only got just over 6 out of 10 pupils to this level. Concentrate on what you are paid to do. Why do we need all this constant disruption in the status of schools to satisfy the selfish ambitions of those at the top?? fredflintstone1
  • Score: 19

7:49pm Tue 18 Mar 14

alyn, southwick says...

another gimmick from Trimmer - he should concentrate on getting them letters sent out to parents stated in the article (I have not received any from either of my kids!)
another gimmick from Trimmer - he should concentrate on getting them letters sent out to parents stated in the article (I have not received any from either of my kids!) alyn, southwick
  • Score: 9

8:05pm Tue 18 Mar 14

whatone says...

ourcoalition wrote:
Recent consultation in a London School resulted in 86% against it becoming an Academy - outcome - it became an Academy!! So much for democracy.
The simple fact is we don't live in a democracy!
[quote][p][bold]ourcoalition[/bold] wrote: Recent consultation in a London School resulted in 86% against it becoming an Academy - outcome - it became an Academy!! So much for democracy.[/p][/quote]The simple fact is we don't live in a democracy! whatone
  • Score: 3

9:10pm Tue 18 Mar 14

LongDistanceRunner2 says...

Derek Trimmer will have peers earning far more than him in schools that have converted to academy status. You can understand the temptation.
Derek Trimmer will have peers earning far more than him in schools that have converted to academy status. You can understand the temptation. LongDistanceRunner2
  • Score: 4

12:10am Wed 19 Mar 14

Dave At Home says...

If they are even talking about an academy at this stage, then the deal has been done and nothing now can stop it. The LEA / BHCC don't have the money to run the school any more and Trimmer will be sent packing within 18 months with a nice pay-off because he is demonstrating that he can't control a f@rt in a bag.

We had all these problems with PCC.... and best of all, is the money that it will cost parents..... laptops, ipads, fancy school uniforms that have to be bought from a 'mates' company, because you can't wear a normal grey jumper, the whole academy thing stinks and worst of all it is masking the pupils future, the ethnic cleansing that goes on is hideous and they (the principles) are not accountable to anybody and they will hide behind their anonymity and freedom from the FoI Act.

I really feel for the pupils and their parents, they have no idea of what is about to hit them and there is NO recourse.
If they are even talking about an academy at this stage, then the deal has been done and nothing now can stop it. The LEA / BHCC don't have the money to run the school any more and Trimmer will be sent packing within 18 months with a nice pay-off because he is demonstrating that he can't control a f@rt in a bag. We had all these problems with PCC.... and best of all, is the money that it will cost parents..... laptops, ipads, fancy school uniforms that have to be bought from a 'mates' company, because you can't wear a normal grey jumper, the whole academy thing stinks and worst of all it is masking the pupils future, the ethnic cleansing that goes on is hideous and they (the principles) are not accountable to anybody and they will hide behind their anonymity and freedom from the FoI Act. I really feel for the pupils and their parents, they have no idea of what is about to hit them and there is NO recourse. Dave At Home
  • Score: 7

12:00pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Fairfax Aches says...

There are only two words you need to read from this article to understand the entire issue:

"Pay", and "Conditions"

You can also add "Unions" if you really want to get to the core of the matter.
There are only two words you need to read from this article to understand the entire issue: "Pay", and "Conditions" You can also add "Unions" if you really want to get to the core of the matter. Fairfax Aches
  • Score: 1

12:25pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Tippy Toes says...

Such a bad idea! I don't normally support teachers strikes but I think I probably would on this one!
Such a bad idea! I don't normally support teachers strikes but I think I probably would on this one! Tippy Toes
  • Score: 5

2:46pm Wed 19 Mar 14

lougreenbaum says...

Do you think the fact that Derek Trimmer would be able to pay himself a lot more as Head of an Academy has anything to do with it? I saw this coming after the Open Evening I attended there with my daughter a few months ago. It was all smoke and mirrors and management speak. The ambitious men in suits reeked of the desire to be come an Academy (there were very few women involved). These people are not educators they are administrators and career teachers and will ruin our children's futures for the sake of personal gain.
Do you think the fact that Derek Trimmer would be able to pay himself a lot more as Head of an Academy has anything to do with it? I saw this coming after the Open Evening I attended there with my daughter a few months ago. It was all smoke and mirrors and management speak. The ambitious men in suits reeked of the desire to be come an Academy (there were very few women involved). These people are not educators they are administrators and career teachers and will ruin our children's futures for the sake of personal gain. lougreenbaum
  • Score: 9

4:16pm Wed 19 Mar 14

GStevens says...

lougreenbaum wrote:
Do you think the fact that Derek Trimmer would be able to pay himself a lot more as Head of an Academy has anything to do with it? I saw this coming after the Open Evening I attended there with my daughter a few months ago. It was all smoke and mirrors and management speak. The ambitious men in suits reeked of the desire to be come an Academy (there were very few women involved). These people are not educators they are administrators and career teachers and will ruin our children's futures for the sake of personal gain.
Derek Trimmer's the only Headteacher I've ever encountered with his own 'company (aka schoo)l car'! You would have thought they'd be better things a school could spend its money on than a flashy perk for the Head!!!!
[quote][p][bold]lougreenbaum[/bold] wrote: Do you think the fact that Derek Trimmer would be able to pay himself a lot more as Head of an Academy has anything to do with it? I saw this coming after the Open Evening I attended there with my daughter a few months ago. It was all smoke and mirrors and management speak. The ambitious men in suits reeked of the desire to be come an Academy (there were very few women involved). These people are not educators they are administrators and career teachers and will ruin our children's futures for the sake of personal gain.[/p][/quote]Derek Trimmer's the only Headteacher I've ever encountered with his own 'company (aka schoo)l car'! You would have thought they'd be better things a school could spend its money on than a flashy perk for the Head!!!! GStevens
  • Score: 11

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