MORE than 2,000 people have officially opposed plans to convert a school into an academy.

Parent pressure group Hands Off Hove Park presented its petition to the school on Wednesday, which hopes to stop the conversion.

Natasha Steel of Hands Off Hove Park, who handed the petition over with Sharon Duggal, said: “The ultimate goal for us is for the school to take the petition into account when making their decision.

“We believe it’s very significant that so many people have backed our campaign and it highlights the very serious issue of converting schools into academies.” The consultation period is now over at the school and the governors will make the final decision on whether Hove Park School will adopt academy status.

National schools commissioner Frank Green, whose role is to oversee the 4,000 academy schools across England, said: “Hove Park is already rated by Ofsted as good – everyone involved in the school, from teachers and governors, to pupils and parents, deserves great credit for that.

“But it is a great shame there are some people opposed to others’ ambition that the school becomes even better and offers even greater opportunities to its pupils.

“I don’t mind admitting that I am an unashamed cheerleader for academies.

“Academies are about freedom and responsibility – freedom for excellent head teachers to make the right choices for their pupils, responsibility for every aspect of their school and community.

“This approach fits Brighton and Hove’s traditionally open ethos – it is an area that has always welcomed change.”