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Worthing teachers protest at academy plan
Teachers at Worthing High School went on strike yesterday over the controversial planned move to academy status.
About 40 parents and teachers picketed the South Farm Road school’s gates and held a rally at the nearby St Mary’s Church.
Parents and union leaders hailed the action as “hugely successful” but vowed it was only the beginning.
Sarah Maynard, a member of the Academy Action Group, said: “We will continue to fight this application until it is rubber stamped.
“Teachers and parents remain resolute in opposition – we are not going to give up.”
The group opposing the move have hired a solicitor to challenge the legitimacy of the school’s consultation period.
Responses to the consultation were very positive with the number of concerns raised by school parents and community members being small in numbeAlison Beer, headteacher
The legal representative has sent a list of questions to the headteacher, Alison Beer. If they feel the responses are unsatisfactory they will consider a judicial review.
James Ellis, a Unison rep, added: “The school breaks up for summer in a few weeks so this will be the last industrial action this term.
"However, we are not ruling out further action in the autumn.”
Despite the overwhelming majority of teachers voting to strike and a 500-signature petition from parents, school bosses still claim that they have received little opposition to the plans.
Ms Beer said: “Our staff had many opportunities and offers from myself and the governors to sit down and discuss any concerns.
"My focus is on ensuring the needs of students always come first and the governors believe that converting to an academy is the right decision to make for this school and our students.
“Responses to the consultation were very positive with the number of concerns raised by school parents and community members being small in number.”
The school governors voted to send the academy application to the Department for Education last month.
The secretary of state is due to sign off the plans, but in theory the move could be reversed up to the night before the first day as an academy.
Mr Ellis added: “We will continue to lobby the governors because they still have the power to change the decision.”
The school’s business manager, Karen Hayler, said that the governors were “very unlikely” to change their minds.