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Hove teachers say 'no' to plans for academy
Nine out of ten teachers at an improving school have voted against it becoming an academy.
Unions representing teaching staff at Hove Park School held the ballot after the head teacher announced the move was being considered.
The school is one of the country’s most improved in recent years, with the number of students achieving five A* to C GCSEs up by 25%.
School governors were last night set to discuss the plans and potentially “express an interest” in conversion. If the plan is supported by governors the school would be free to continue with the academy plans.
Paul Shellard, secretary of Brighton and Hove National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “Staff who have worked so hard to raise achievement levels at the school do not want it to branch out alone with the threat of worse pay and conditions.
“The priority must be education not deregulation. That’s why staff are so firm in their opposition.”
Union leaders have previously suggested teachers could go on strike across the city if academy plans are pushed forward at Hove Park School.
Although state-funded, academies act as independent from local authority control. As a result they have more freedom with finances, curriculum, term dates and the hiring of unqualified teachers.
Ninety-four teachers and staff from Unison, the NUT and NASUWT voted in the ballot. Eighty-one said they were against the move while 13 voted in favour.
Denise Knutson of Unison, said its members were “very concerned” about the proposal.
She added: “The school results have improved and they can see no benefits to the students and their education by considering this change.”
A parents’ group called Hands off Hove Park School has also been founded. A spokeswoman said: “This is about our children and our community and we feel we have the right to be part of any discussion that may affect our future.”
Mike Nicholls, chairman of governors at the school, said many staff members did not take part in the ballot.
He said: “If governors decide that there are potential benefits of academy status, we will begin a formal consultation process that includes parents and students.”
For the result from the governor’s meeting see The Argus tomorrow.
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