In proposals coming to a Brighton & Hove City Council meeting next week (2 June), the Green administration is proposing that the council organise a ballot of parents at Hove Park School, which is currently considering becoming an academy.
Academies are independent of the local education authority and operate outside of democratic oversight and governance.
The decision on whether to voluntarily become an academy is taken by school governors.
The school previously declined to hold a parental ballot as it is not legally obliged to.
Brighton & Hove Green councillors have stepped in and are calling for cross-party support for a council-run ballot of parents. The cost of the ballot would be no more than £2,000.
Green councillor Sue Shanks, Chair of the council’s Children & Young People Committee said, “Academies are deeply contentious and the decision to become an academy is irreversible, so it’s crucial that everyone is fully consulted.
“It’s disappointing that the school won’t conduct their own ballot. However we always said that we would do all we can to make sure that parents have their say.
“We believe in consulting on big decisions such as these, especially when they are so controversial. I’m calling on the other parties to support our proposal for this ballot.
Regardless of what the school decides to do, we will seek a good working relationship to try and ensure the best for children, staff and the community – as we have done with the city’s existing free schools and academies.’
For more information please contact the Brighton and Hove Green Party office on 01273 766 670.
*Meeting papers for the Children and Young People’s Committee meeting on 2nd June where this is being considered can be viewed on the Brighton & Hove City Council website: here.
*The proposal is for a ballot paper to be circulated via the school with a pre-paid envelope provided by the council for parents to return their response to the council, who will analyse and communicate the results.
The question on the paper will be ‘Do you agree that Hove Park Secondary School should convert to become an Academy – Yes or No’.
*Greens are the only political party opposed to academy conversions because they operate outside of democratic oversight and governance. Academies can also have adverse knock-on effects on other schools – for example any increase in academies or free schools means less money to support existing local authority schools.