A UNION has warned a school has “nothing to gain and everything to lose” after it announced plans to become an academy.

Steyning Grammar School governors voted unanimously to leave West Sussex County Council control and join the Bohunt Education Trust.

Chairwoman Sue Gearing said the school’s unprecedented break with its 400-year history would provide better education for pupils.

But National Education Union officials threatened strikes in a bid to call off the Bohunt takeover.

“We don’t accept the rationale for the decision, and neither do the parents we have engaged during our campaign,” organiser James Ellis said.

“It is clear to us that teachers and parents do not want Bohunt Education Trust to take over their school because they understand there is nothing to be gained from it and everything to lose.

“The NEU will discuss the decision with its members in the school and determine our next steps, which might include industrial action.”

Meanwhile West Sussex branch secretary Ann Seuret claimed governors had “no respect” for the school community.

“The unwillingness of individual governors to engage with questions from the people they represent or release minutes of meetings show they are not being transparent,” she said.

“They are foreshadowing the lack of democratic accountability which will happen if the school is converted to an academy.”

Union officials believe Steyning Grammar School would not benefit from extra funds if it joined the Bohunt trust.

It also said converting the school into an academy would reduce parents’ roles in running the school as the trust would be “unaccountable”.

But head governor Ms Gearing said it would be a “privilege” to work with Bohunt.

And trust leader Neil Strowger claimed parents were onside with the move.

“Steyning Grammar School is an exceptional school, whose ambition and vision for unparalleled opportunity and excellence in education reflects that of Bohunt Education Trust,” he said.

“We are thrilled this move has received such positive support from parents, staff, students and the wider school community.”

Bohunt trust runs six schools in total, including secondary schools in Worthing and Horsham.

Converting Steyning Grammar School into an academy would give Bohunt complete control over its curriculum and the hiring of teachers.