Members of the National Education Union at Peacehaven Community will be on strike on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of July this week taking the total number of days the school has been hit by industrial action up to 10. The response from the Council that the community support giving the school to the Swale Academy Trust has been dismissed as untrue by unions and parents.
PCS parent David Bos said “It is downright dishonest of East Sussex County Council to say there is strong support for Swale taking over. The only evidence they cite is that from a school of more than 600 pupils, 10 parents responded to them in an exercise carried out more than two years ago. Not only that they claim responses were all positive when we know this not to be true. The contempt being shown for the community is astounding.”
Phil Clarke Secretary of Lewes Eastbourne and Wealden NEU added “The staff are on strike, local MPs and Town Councillors across parties have weighed in against the plans and in a single day over 300 local parents, 30 times more than took part in the councils consultation, signed to oppose the transfer. All the council have to do to end the strikes is to pause and put back in place an elected governing body so decisions can be taken by the school community.”
Serious questions are being asked of the process by which the Swale Academy was selected. Campaigners have learned that the trust, which performs below national averages on pupil progress for its secondary schools, has seen its pupil teacher ratio go up 4.5 times the national average since 2015 while the number of executives it has on over £100,000 a year has tripled.
Simple questions remain unanswered by the council including why Swale were chosen to be brought into the school, who else was considered and what criteria was used to make the decision.