Victory for parents, students, and teachers as Hove Park School governors vote unanimously against academy move

The final protest before governors voted unanimously against converting to and academy
The final protest before governors voted unanimously against converting to and academy

Hove Park School will not become an academy after a unanimous vote by governors.

Hove Park School will not become an academy after a unanimous vote by governors.

The vote followed a remarkable and sustained campaign by the Hands Off Hove Park Campaign, which organised a final rally before this evening's crucial vote.

The high-profile campaign - supported by Brighton and Hove Independent - resulted in a change of heart by Derek Trimmer, the headteacher who had championed the proposals since March.

Last night, he said it was not the right time to press forward with academy plans given the disruption it would cause.

In a statement, he said: “If we are going to help the city's children we have to have the city behind us and that means that we need to be mindful of the unrest and disruption that forging ahead with an academy conversion at this stage of our journey could cause.

“We also need to be absolutely incisive in terms of separating politics from what is right educationally for our children and with recent events this line has become increasingly blurred.

IMG_4861“I believe that with the level of uncertainty that exists amongst members of our community and the resulting level of opposition that may harm the progress of the children in our school, the time is not right for driving through such a change.”

Sharon Duggal, of  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.

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

For a full statement by Ms Duggal, see Brighton and Hove City News website

Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said the decision was the right one: "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.

IMG_4870"Hove Park School has become a fantastic success story. I’m thrilled that it’s free to continue thriving - and I don’t believe becoming an Academy would have assured that. Many of my constituents were extremely concerned about the proposals, which would have dramatically reduced the accountability of the school. There will be a lot of relieved parents, students and teachers tonight."

Here is a statement issued to The Argus newspaper by Mike Nicholls, chair of governors at Hove Park School.

Neither the Labour Party nor the Conservative Party came out in support of the Hands Off Hove Park campaign.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 22.05.25Following the unanimous vote, Andrew Wealls, the education spokesperson for Brighton and Hove Conservatives - who co-authored an article supportive of academies with Ty Goddard, a leading figure in Brighton and Hove District Labour Party - tweeted that he respected the decision of the 17 governors, but believed it represented a missed opportunity.

For Brighton and Hove Labour, Councillor Anne Pissaridou said: "We are pleased that this debate within the Hove Park community has concluded and that the governors have reached a decision. Our task as a city is now to ensure all our schools are excellent schools and that we now put in place plans to provide enough secondary places to meet demand in three years' time."

How Brighton and Hove Independent supported the Hands Off Hove Park campaign:

The front page of this week's Brighton and Hove Independent

Mark Steel: If democratic consultation has any meaning at all, Hove Park School must not become an academy

An Independent View: Hands off Hove Park School

Decision day in battle to keep hands off Hove Park School