The ArgusParents respond to head's academy letter (From The Argus)

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Hove Park School parents respond to Derek Trimmer claims

The Argus: Parents respond to head's academy letter Parents respond to head's academy letter

Parents have hit back at a letter from a headteacher published in yesterday’s Argus.

The letter from Hove Park School’s Derek Trimmer was the first time he had spoken publicly about the school’s plans to become an academy.

Sharon Duggal, from the parent pressure group Hands Off Hove Park, has responded below.

MR Trimmer talks about listening but it is clear he is refusing to hear - as reflected in his choice to write a controlled letter presenting his proposal rather than enter into a dialogue to discuss the many concerns about the proposal with the wider school community.

To paint these genuine concerns as just being from the loudest voices is both remiss and insulting to the ordinary mums and dads involved at the school.

A letter from Mr Trimmer allows him to put forward his rather glossed over but ultimately superficial proposal for academy status for the school and dismisses the need to provide properly evidenced, well researched responses to the concerns of parents and carers as well as the wider local community.

There is nothing presented in his letter or in the literature presented by the school that explains how this academy route will benefit children across the city now or in the future or puts the needs of local communities first.

Quotes about standards and improvements are a spin – and we deserve better than that.

The question that is being avoided the most in the recent school presentations and from the many submitted letters to the school’s consultation email address is about the future.

Where are the safeguards for the future? Plans are not guarantees.

Plans to honour pay and conditions may apply to current staff but what about new and future staff?

Unqualified teachers are already teaching in the school in spite of reassurances that this wouldn’t happen.

There is even less protection for this under academy status.

And money for new buildings is no more guaranteed for academies than it is for local authority schools.

It is this complete lack of safeguarding for the future that is the real worry.

Once an academy, plans can be changed at any point and the reasons given will be ‘shifts in education landscape’ or ‘budget issues’.

Frankly, allowing these uncertainties to occur is just not good enough for children and young people.

Mr Trimmer and his team will move on at some point, this is inevitable.

Without local accountability the school is then open to all sorts of risks from undesirable sponsors to admissions systems that do not serve local families.

When this happens it will be local communities that are left to suffer, leaving the senior leadership team at Hove Park free to move on to the next vanity project.

The Hove Park School governors have a great and unenviable responsibility to make sure any decision around academy status is not just about the next couple of years with Mr Trimmer at the helm, but for all those children about to enter year seven and all the primary-aged children in the feeder schools further down the line.

If they find this responsibility too much they should open it up to a democratic process of ‘one person, one vote’ which includes parents and carers and school staff.

This is the only way Mr Trimmer and the governing body can truly listen.

Comments (4)

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11:23am Wed 28 May 14

Natasha Steel says...

It is hard to disagree with anything written here. Perhaps the only thing to add is that the consultation process at Hove Park School, along with that at hundreds of schools across the country is being manipulated from on high by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. It is about a centralisation of control of education, the dismantling of local government and is part of a much wider privatisation agenda that takes publicly owned and run assets out of the hands of the communities they serve and puts them into the hands of largely unaccountable 'trustees' and academy trusts.

The senior leadership team of Hove Park School do not live in Brighton & Hove, the education of their own children will not be affected by this decision. As representatives of the local community, the governors need to roundly challenge and scrutinise this insubstantial proposal, identify its connection to this damaging, but transient political landscape, and throw it out.
It is hard to disagree with anything written here. Perhaps the only thing to add is that the consultation process at Hove Park School, along with that at hundreds of schools across the country is being manipulated from on high by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. It is about a centralisation of control of education, the dismantling of local government and is part of a much wider privatisation agenda that takes publicly owned and run assets out of the hands of the communities they serve and puts them into the hands of largely unaccountable 'trustees' and academy trusts. The senior leadership team of Hove Park School do not live in Brighton & Hove, the education of their own children will not be affected by this decision. As representatives of the local community, the governors need to roundly challenge and scrutinise this insubstantial proposal, identify its connection to this damaging, but transient political landscape, and throw it out. Natasha Steel
  • Score: -2

12:33pm Wed 28 May 14

Hove person says...

And the large playing fields.....
And the large playing fields..... Hove person
  • Score: 4

4:32pm Wed 28 May 14

Siompk says...

Have to agree that mr trimmer seems to have forgotten the support of the community in favour of his own egotistical plans. Sussex is strewn with academy's that are not working. Why add another.
Sign the online petition ...
Have to agree that mr trimmer seems to have forgotten the support of the community in favour of his own egotistical plans. Sussex is strewn with academy's that are not working. Why add another. Sign the online petition ... Siompk
  • Score: 5

4:58pm Wed 28 May 14

handsoffhoveparksch@gmail.com says...

Our online petition can be found here:
http://chn.ge/1jVbQY
W
or via the Hands Off Hove park website here: handsoffhoveparkscho
ol.wordpress.com
Our online petition can be found here: http://chn.ge/1jVbQY W or via the Hands Off Hove park website here: handsoffhoveparkscho ol.wordpress.com handsoffhoveparksch@gmail.com
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

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