Joint Press Release – National Education Union and Hands Off Peacehaven Schools

We need to come together and make our voices heard”– Angry parents re-launch campaign to save Peacehaven primaries from academisation

Parents of Peacehaven Heights and Telscombe Cliffs primary schools in East Sussex have re-launched their campaign to save the schools from academisation.

This follows the replacement of the governing bodies of both schools, made up of parents, teachers, and the wider school community, with unelected boards of bureaucrats appointed by East Sussex County Council and unaccountable to the community.

Ewa Sucharska who’s child attends Peacehaven Heights said: “I feel the plans for our school so far have been made without transparency, as a community we should be involved in decisions regarding the future of our schools and I feel we have be denied that opportunity”

Parents were further angered by the shock decision of the Peacehaven Heights Interim Executive Board (IEB) to fill in the school pool during the summer holidays without consulting with the community which had raised £100,000 to ensure the pool’s future.

At Peacehaven Heights a headteacher from The Step Academy Trust has been installed by the interim board in what appears to be a second attempt by East Sussex County Council to offload the schools to a private academy trust.

Phil Clarke, Joint Secretary for East Sussex NEU, said: “What is being asked for the schools in Peacehaven is no more than is already the case in all others schools.

“Where there are vacancies for head teachers these should be filled as quickly as possible through a proper recruitment process and local people through governing bodies should be involved in the really big decisions.

“The swimming pool wasn’t just closed it was filled in. A decision to give the school away to an academy chain would be even more irreversible. There should be no question that this is imposed by Councillors based the other end of the county on the Peacehaven Community. “

A public ‘Zoom’ meeting has been called for next Monday 21st September at 7pm  http://tiny.cc/handsoffmeet to discuss how the community can come together to demand the following:

1 – That a new substantive head teacher be recruited through interviews at Peacehaven Heights as soon as possible.

2 – That parent’s forums be set up at both schools so parent voices are heard.

3 – That for both schools the process of setting up a new, normal governing bodies accountable to the community begin immediately.

4 – That no irreversible decisions, such as academy conversion, be taken by imposed governors

You can register for the meeting by visiting http://tiny.cc/handsoffmeet , all welcome.

Furthermore campaigners are calling upon staff, parents and members of the wider community to use this tool https://actionnetwork.org/letters/hands-off-peacehaven-schools write to the decision makers at East Sussex County Council asking them to support the above demands.

Martyn Beaumont, whose son attends Peacehaven Heights said: ” ESCC seems to be deaf to the voices of parents. We need to shout very loud! and show them we WILL be listened to.

“We need to come together and make our voices heard. For our children and future children”