Co-operative Trust in attempt to resolve Peacehaven Community School dispute

Peacehaven Co-operative Learning Trust calls public meeting to discuss the future of the school in response to mounting community and staff opposition to academisation

Trustees of the Peacehaven Co-operative Learning Trust (PCLT), which has been side-lined by the council but still has key duties to the schools learning community, have broken their silence over the academisation of Peacehaven Community School (PCS) and called a public meeting to discuss the future of the school. 

In an open letter to parents, staff and the wider Peacehaven community the trustees have stated their belief that parents, and the community should have a meaningful and democratic say in the future of PCS.

Last Thursday saw National Education Union members walk out for their tenth day of strike action in opposition to East Sussex County Council’s plans to hand the school over the Kent-based Swale Academies Trust.

Lisa Murray, PCS teacher and National Education Union rep said: “We’re delighted the Cooperative Learning Trust are giving staff and parents the opportunity to have their say about the future of their community school.”

Trustees committed to put on hold any further work with ESCC which would enable the academy conversion, to allow time for the community to have their say.

In the letter trustees also voiced their concerns about the current role and accountability of the local authority and governance arrangements, stating that the continued governance by an unelected, unaccountable Interim Executive board of governors was “contributing to a loss of community confidence”. 

Ashvini Webster, PCS parent said: “Finally we feel like someone is listening to us.  The IEB continue to claim that this academisation is largely supported by the Peacehaven community. This meeting is our opportunity to show all concerned that this is not the case.”   

The PCLT was established when PCS became a Foundation school in 2013. Foundation schools are still Local Authority (LA) maintained schools in that they receive their funding through the LA and are subject to the same conditions as other LA schools (the National Curriculum, national school teachers’ pay and conditions and elected governing bodies) unlike academies.

The trustees of PCLT have called a meeting for Tuesday 16th July at 7:30, at Community House, The Meridian Centre, Peacehaven.

The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss how the community can work together to secure a fair outcome, in the best interests of Peacehaven Community School and the community it serves.

Parents, staff and all community members who care about the future of PCS are welcome to attend.