Councillor Andrew Wealls, Opposition Spokesman for Children and Young People (Conservative) – Brighton & Hove City Council Ty Goddard, Co-founder, The Education Foundation and member of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party

AS TEACHERS and their students take a well-earned break this summer, August gives us the opportunity to take a step back and consider the debate about the future of Hove Park School.

Academy status is not a magic wand but gives a school real freedom to innovate, build the relationships it wants, access the expertise it needs and set the curriculum it requires.

A school is responsible for its own destiny. And Hove Park is already a national beacon of good practice – that takes pupil well-being and academic success seriously.

The outcome is important not just for the future of the school itself but also for the city. Hove Park School intends to become a multi-academy trust, which means other primary and secondary schools can join and share in the innovation and higher standards that new freedoms can bring.

Hove Park School in partnership with West Blatchington Primary School is already delivering results, which shows what can be achieved by other schools joining the partnership.

Hove Park’s Derek Trimmer, the senior management team and teaching staff have delivered a phenomenal improvement in results, which is in the top 1% most improved schools in England; that’s why we should back them in debating the next steps they may need to obtain their ultimate aim - ‘beyond outstanding’.

The school has built an excellent partnership with Perry Beeches School in Birmingham, which delivers results (and pupil progress) all Brighton and Hove secondary schools would envy. And this is a school where almost half of the students receive free school meals. Hove Park is also building links with schools around the world in rapidly developing countries such as China to help learn from them and give great experiences to pupils.

In order for our young people to really thrive, we need more such links.

They also have the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with employers, so our young people can understand the world of work and our companies can grow and prosper.

Money currently held centrally by the local authority could be used to support all of these relationships, and academy status will give the management team the freedom to invest in partnerships where they themselves determine the best outcome for students.

Our city should get behind Derek Trimmer, his senior management team and the governors to allow them an even-handed debate about the freedoms they need to deliver ‘beyond outstanding’, not just for Hove Park School, but for Brighton and Hove too.

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