ANTI academy campaigners are celebrating after conversion plans were thrown out.

All 17 governors at Hove Park School voted against the proposal following a last minute change of heart from headteacher Derek Trimmer.

He had been the driving force since the plans were announced in March. But yesterday afternoon he revealed to teachers and The Argus he would urge governors to reject the academy move.

The 17 governors took note and duly voted against the plans last night.

Campaigners from the Hands Off Hove Park group gathered at the gates of the school's Nevill Road campus before the meeting at 6pm yesterday.

They waited nervously as the governors decided the school's fate.

But just after 8pm a huge roar went up as the result was revealed.

Sharon Duggal from Hands Off Hove Park School, said: "We're absolutely thrilled. “This is the right decision for the people of Hove, the school will keep going from strength-to-strength.

"There was no appetite for this from the start. Not from the teachers, the parents or the community. I'm glad Mr Trimmer has finally seen that.

"This is the best result for everyone and I think the school will only continue to improve."

The group, which formed shortly after the academy proposal was first announced, has run a spirited campaign.

In June they collected a 2,000 signature petition which they handed to Brighton and Hove City Council.

They have also attracted high profile support from Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavilion MP, and comedian Mark Steel.

Mr Steel, 54, waited with parents at the school gates for the results.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “It's hard to think that the campaign could've gone any better.

"It's such a brilliant example of how someone comes up with an unpleasant idea and how the community can get together and challenge that idea.

"This situation could apply to so many things and we're just really happy. It's a great result."

The plans have been unpopular from the start and this summer saw a teacher strike as well as numerous demonstrations.

A Brighton and Hove City Council parent ballot also resulted in 71% voting against the plans.

Speaking after the meeting headteacher Derek Trimmer said: “I'm delighted that we were able to make a unanimous decision that at this point academy conversion is not the right way forward.

“We have taken a lot of factors into consideration and we've listened for a long period of time to a number of different views.

“I think it is an exciting time ahead, I really do.

“We have a great opportunity to shape the educational outcome of a generation of young people in this city and we are looking forward to doing our part.

He added that academy conversion would be off the table for the "foreseeable future".

Lisa Williams, a parent governor who voted against the proposal, said: "I'm delighted its unanimous.

"It has been a long hard process and as a parent I have been grateful that the staff have carried on providing an excellent education to my children despite the sometimes disruption and extra work for everybody.

“I think the best vehicle for delivering our vision is the strong leadership team, the strong governing body and the hard working staff at Hove Park School."

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: "This is wonderful news - I pay tribute to everyone who has campaigned so hard to keep Hove Park School part of the community, and I'm delighted the governors have listened to the results of the parents' ballot, and to the strength of feeling in the city”

“Many of my constituents were extremely concerned about the proposals, which would have dramatically reduced the accountability of the school.

Additional reporting by Tom Barlow Brown, Myfanwy Garman and Tom Hibbs