The ArgusHove Park parents academy ballot planned (From The Argus)

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Hove Park parents academy ballot planned by Brighton and Hove Greens

The Argus: A demo against the academy plans earlier this month A demo against the academy plans earlier this month

A ballot is being planned for parents to have their say over controversial plans to convert a school into an academy.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s Green administration is proposing to organise the ballot of parents at Hove Park School, which is currently considering becoming an academy.

The decision on whether to voluntarily become an academy is taken by school governors and the school previously declined to hold a parental ballot as it is not legally obliged to.

Brighton and Hove Green councillors have stepped in and are calling for cross-party support for a council-run ballot of parents.

Councillor Sue Shanks, chairwoman of the council’s Children and Young People Committee, said: “Academies are deeply contentious and the decision to become an academy is irreversible, so it’s crucial that everyone is fully consulted.

“It’s disappointing that the school won’t conduct their own ballot.

“However we always said that we would do all we can to make sure that parents have their say.

“We believe in consulting on big decisions such as these, especially when they are so controversial.

“I’m calling on the other parties to support our proposal for this ballot.

“Regardless of what the school decides to do, we will seek a good working relationship to try and ensure the best for children, staff and the community – as we have done with the city’s existing free schools and academies.”

Parent pressure group Hands Off Hove Park has been objecting to the plans and has gathered almost 1,700 signatures on a petition to keep the school under local authority control.

Councillors will discuss the proposal for a ballot on June 2.

Natasha Steel’s, who has two daughters at the school in year 10 and sixth form, has signed the petition.

She said: “I’m thrilled the council are backing us on this one and are looking to hold the ballot.

“The consultation process has just been awful – I’m totally appalled by the lack of balance on the panel.

“The information was rushed out and a lot of parents didn’t even know when the sessions were, which has resulted in a very poor turnout.

“A ballot would fully engage the parents and it’s the only real way to gauge the level of support for it.

“We’re urging as many parents as possible to get to the meeting on June 2 to get their voices heard – it feels like the only way in which we can do it at the moment.”

Another parent, Robb Johnson, who has two boys in year nine and 10, has recorded a song about the proposed changes for Hands Off Hove Park.

He said: “It’s really good news and if it does go ahead it will provide parents with a chance to get their opinion across.

“The consultation period and the leaflets have been designed to disengage, this will give us our voice.”

Both parents thought the ballot would show an overwhelming opposition to academy status.

For more information about the parent group visit handsoffhovepark school.wordpress.com.

Comments (3)

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8:50am Thu 29 May 14

Eugenius says...

Bravo Sue. Great to see the Green councillors supporting the parents on this and also pushing for a democratic ballot.
Bravo Sue. Great to see the Green councillors supporting the parents on this and also pushing for a democratic ballot. Eugenius
  • Score: 1

9:56am Thu 29 May 14

Fozborn says...

Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place....
What is a concerned parent to do?

Agree with head teacher Trimmer? The man who rode into to town just when the more favourable school demographics resulting from changes to the entry criteria were about to come through in the GCSE results. And then claimed all the credit. The man who appeared in the local press announcing proudly that the school were "handing out iPads to all their students". (No Mr Trimmer - you did not hand out iPads - you forced us to buy them for our kids)

Or agree with local Green politicians who are using this test case as a battle ground in an ideological war.

The very fact that the Greens are against it makes me inclined to think that the academy idea might be a good one after!

Quite simply there has been no proper case put forward by other side in this argument. One side appears to focus on controlled "consultation" evenings and press releases whilst the other politically point scores and drums up fear of the unknown whilst trying to promote a vision of a socialist Utopia. What is better for my children and what is better for the children who will go to Hove Park and all the other schools in the area? That is the question. Egos and ideologies should be kicked into touch.

My view, based on what I know at present, is that the school and it's leadership should focus on becoming outstanding before attempting a move like this. The school has been improving for a number of years even before the arrival of Mr Trimmer. That is why we actively chose to send our children there. But it could still do better. The distraction of setting up an academy at this stage in the schools development is premature based on the limited information I have available. Once the school is outstanding then the leadership will have the time to focus on the next step. That next step may well be the academy route. Not just for Hove Park but all the schools in the area which will hopefully ensure no one is left behind

One final point: I have heard not a word from the parent governors at Hove Park. What are their views? After all they are elected to represent parents. Are they indeed in favour of going for Academy status or is dissent of any form not tolerated?
Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place.... What is a concerned parent to do? Agree with head teacher Trimmer? The man who rode into to town just when the more favourable school demographics resulting from changes to the entry criteria were about to come through in the GCSE results. And then claimed all the credit. The man who appeared in the local press announcing proudly that the school were "handing out iPads to all their students". (No Mr Trimmer - you did not hand out iPads - you forced us to buy them for our kids) Or agree with local Green politicians who are using this test case as a battle ground in an ideological war. The very fact that the Greens are against it makes me inclined to think that the academy idea might be a good one after! Quite simply there has been no proper case put forward by other side in this argument. One side appears to focus on controlled "consultation" evenings and press releases whilst the other politically point scores and drums up fear of the unknown whilst trying to promote a vision of a socialist Utopia. What is better for my children and what is better for the children who will go to Hove Park and all the other schools in the area? That is the question. Egos and ideologies should be kicked into touch. My view, based on what I know at present, is that the school and it's leadership should focus on becoming outstanding before attempting a move like this. The school has been improving for a number of years even before the arrival of Mr Trimmer. That is why we actively chose to send our children there. But it could still do better. The distraction of setting up an academy at this stage in the schools development is premature based on the limited information I have available. Once the school is outstanding then the leadership will have the time to focus on the next step. That next step may well be the academy route. Not just for Hove Park but all the schools in the area which will hopefully ensure no one is left behind One final point: I have heard not a word from the parent governors at Hove Park. What are their views? After all they are elected to represent parents. Are they indeed in favour of going for Academy status or is dissent of any form not tolerated? Fozborn
  • Score: 1

10:55am Thu 29 May 14

Quiterie says...

Fozborn wrote:
Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place....
What is a concerned parent to do?

Agree with head teacher Trimmer? The man who rode into to town just when the more favourable school demographics resulting from changes to the entry criteria were about to come through in the GCSE results. And then claimed all the credit. The man who appeared in the local press announcing proudly that the school were "handing out iPads to all their students". (No Mr Trimmer - you did not hand out iPads - you forced us to buy them for our kids)

Or agree with local Green politicians who are using this test case as a battle ground in an ideological war.

The very fact that the Greens are against it makes me inclined to think that the academy idea might be a good one after!

Quite simply there has been no proper case put forward by other side in this argument. One side appears to focus on controlled "consultation" evenings and press releases whilst the other politically point scores and drums up fear of the unknown whilst trying to promote a vision of a socialist Utopia. What is better for my children and what is better for the children who will go to Hove Park and all the other schools in the area? That is the question. Egos and ideologies should be kicked into touch.

My view, based on what I know at present, is that the school and it's leadership should focus on becoming outstanding before attempting a move like this. The school has been improving for a number of years even before the arrival of Mr Trimmer. That is why we actively chose to send our children there. But it could still do better. The distraction of setting up an academy at this stage in the schools development is premature based on the limited information I have available. Once the school is outstanding then the leadership will have the time to focus on the next step. That next step may well be the academy route. Not just for Hove Park but all the schools in the area which will hopefully ensure no one is left behind

One final point: I have heard not a word from the parent governors at Hove Park. What are their views? After all they are elected to represent parents. Are they indeed in favour of going for Academy status or is dissent of any form not tolerated?
You're absolutely right - the catchment area system and change in demographics is now feeding through to the GCSE results. Trimmer should be take some credit for ensuring this change in intake has also resulted in improved results, but Hove Park is still the worst performing secondary school in Brighton and Hove on the Value Added measure (i.e. Progress made by pupils from the end of Junior School to the end of High School). I don't have strong opinions on becoming an Academy either way, but Hove Park should not be taking their 'eye off the ball' at this critical stage of their development. They should put these plans on hold until their improvement has been become fully established.
[quote][p][bold]Fozborn[/bold] wrote: Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place.... What is a concerned parent to do? Agree with head teacher Trimmer? The man who rode into to town just when the more favourable school demographics resulting from changes to the entry criteria were about to come through in the GCSE results. And then claimed all the credit. The man who appeared in the local press announcing proudly that the school were "handing out iPads to all their students". (No Mr Trimmer - you did not hand out iPads - you forced us to buy them for our kids) Or agree with local Green politicians who are using this test case as a battle ground in an ideological war. The very fact that the Greens are against it makes me inclined to think that the academy idea might be a good one after! Quite simply there has been no proper case put forward by other side in this argument. One side appears to focus on controlled "consultation" evenings and press releases whilst the other politically point scores and drums up fear of the unknown whilst trying to promote a vision of a socialist Utopia. What is better for my children and what is better for the children who will go to Hove Park and all the other schools in the area? That is the question. Egos and ideologies should be kicked into touch. My view, based on what I know at present, is that the school and it's leadership should focus on becoming outstanding before attempting a move like this. The school has been improving for a number of years even before the arrival of Mr Trimmer. That is why we actively chose to send our children there. But it could still do better. The distraction of setting up an academy at this stage in the schools development is premature based on the limited information I have available. Once the school is outstanding then the leadership will have the time to focus on the next step. That next step may well be the academy route. Not just for Hove Park but all the schools in the area which will hopefully ensure no one is left behind One final point: I have heard not a word from the parent governors at Hove Park. What are their views? After all they are elected to represent parents. Are they indeed in favour of going for Academy status or is dissent of any form not tolerated?[/p][/quote]You're absolutely right - the catchment area system and change in demographics is now feeding through to the GCSE results. Trimmer should be take some credit for ensuring this change in intake has also resulted in improved results, but Hove Park is still the worst performing secondary school in Brighton and Hove on the Value Added measure (i.e. Progress made by pupils from the end of Junior School to the end of High School). I don't have strong opinions on becoming an Academy either way, but Hove Park should not be taking their 'eye off the ball' at this critical stage of their development. They should put these plans on hold until their improvement has been become fully established. Quiterie
  • Score: 3

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