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Academy plan leads to strike
A school is expected to close when teachers strike against plans for it to become an academy.
Teachers at Hove Park School have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action against the change, with most of them expected to strike on Wednesday, July 16.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) announced that nearly 80% voted to oppose their school leaving local authority control with the consequent threat to pay and conditions.
As 75% of the school’s teachers are part of NUT the school may be forced to close on health and safety grounds.
The academy plans put forward by headteacher Derek Trimmer have been met with anger and the formation of parent pressure group Hands Off Hove Park.
Paul Shellard, secretary of Brighton and Hove NUT, said: “The headteacher is promoting academy conversion but staff, responsible for raising stan- dards of achievement significantly in the last few years, reject his plans.
“He is becoming increasingly desperate in trying to pressurize the vast majority of teachers who disagree with him, including questioning their professionalism over taking action.”
Staff are also poised to ballot for action over the summer and the result of the parents’ ballot, organised by Brighton and Hove City Council, is due in mid July.
Mr Shellard said: “When the governors meet to decide on the school’s future in September, they will face an important decision and it is vital that they look beyond gov ernment propaganda and empty promises.
“The governors must listen to the staff and local parents and build on Hove Park’s successes as a community school.”
Parent Natasha Steel, who is a key member of Hands Off Hove Park, said: “We really support their decision and although it’s a shame it falls so closely to the national public sector strikes, we are fully behind them.
“I would urge parents to support the strike too and carefully consider whether they send their children to school on that day if indeed the school is open.
“A lot of campaign members and parents won’t be sending children to school because they don’t want them to cross the picket line and compromise the strike.
“I’m sure they wouldn’t have wanted it to fall a week after national strikes, but that’s the situation they find themselves in.”
Action had to be taken within four weeks of the ballot being conducted under Government legislation.