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Teachers walk out of Hove Park School as pressure builds over academy plans
Updated 11:25am Wednesday 16th July 2014 in News
Teachers have walked out this morning over plans to convert their school into an academy.
Staff, parents and pupils took to the picket lines outside Hove Park School from 7am.
They gathered outside the school’s two sites in Nevill Road and Hangleton Way wearing union high-visibility jackets.
They handed out leaflets and blew whistles as passing motorists, bus drivers and rubbish trucks showed their support by beeping their horns.
The action, organised by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), is in response to the school’s planned academy move.
Liz Ritson, an ICT teacher and the school’s union rep, was one of those on the picket line.
She said: “It is better than Christmas. Gove has gone, the parent ballot has come back at 71% and we have managed to successfully close the school.
“It’s time to put a line under it. What more do they need to realise there is no appetite for academies in Brighton and Hove.
“We were rated good by Ofsted, but we can get outstanding.”
The NUT claim 75% of the teaching staff at the school belong to the union – although the school believes it is nearer 32%.
Of the NUT’s 70 members, 80% backed industrial action.
Yesterday, the result of a council-backed parent poll was revealed with 71% of respondents against the move.
Brighton and Hove City Council revealed 544 took part in the poll.
In a letter to parents, headteacher Derek Trimmer apologised for the closing of the school.
He said: “It is with regret that I have decided to declare that the school will be closed to students. “Please accept my apologies for this unfortunate situation. I understand the inconvenience and difficulty this will cause many of you.”
He said a “minority” of staff had voted to strike but the school would close because of uncertainty around the number of people walking out and the picket line would put non- striking staff in a “difficult personal position”.
Hove Park is one of the most improved schools in the country with the number of children gaining five GCSEs at A* to C up by 25%.
For a full report and reaction see tomorrow’s Argus.