NEU and Hands Off Peacehaven Schools – Two thirds of school staff likely to leave if school becomes an academy

Extent of staff opposition to academisation of Peacehaven primary school revealed at public meeting

At Monday’s (21/9/2020) public meeting arranged by ‘Hands Off Peacehaven Schools’ to discuss the future of embattled primaries Peacehaven Heights and Telscombe Cliffs, representatives of the National Education Union revealed that a survey, completed by 80% of Peacehaven Heights staff showed:

  • 90% of staff don’t agree with the general principle of academisation.
  • 83% of staff feel that children at our school would not benefit from academisation.
  • 97% of staff believe that parents/carers have little or no awareness of what is actually happening to our school.
  • 100% of staff would like parents and the wider community to fight against academisation and challenge the IEB on some of these issues.
  • 100% of staff believe that the IEB have not put reasonable effort into securing a permanent headteacher for our school.
  • 100% of staff said they do not feel supported by the IEB.
  • 69% (2 out of every 3 members of staff) said they would be likely or very likely to leave if our school became an academy.

Vicky Hawkins, parent at Peacehaven Heights said: “I was saddened to hear that 2 out of every 3 of our amazing teachers have stated that they will likely leave the school if it becomes an academy.

“We, the parents, really need to support them in every way we can to ensure this doesn’t happen.”

At the same meeting Angela Mills, Chair of Governors at Peacehaven Heights prior to the installation of an unelected board by ESCC, labelled the destruction of the pool in the first week of the summer holidays as “underhand” as no one could see what was happening.

She went on to claim that it has cost the school £17-20,000 to fill the pool in, outstripping by far the estimated £5,000 it would have taken to repair.

Phil Clarke, Secretary for East Sussex NEU, called on campaigners to focus their anger over the destruction of the pool on accountability saying:

“I do not think a local governing body, constituted from the community and accountable to the community, would have decided to destroy the pool”

He went on to implore the community to keep up the pressure on ESCC to begin the process of transferring power from the IEB to a normal governing body.

East Sussex County Councillors for Peacehaven and Telscombe also attended the meeting. Councillor Nigel Enever – County Councillor for Peacehaven said that he too would have been very angry if the destruction of the pool in this way had happened if he were a parent at the school.  He promised to take the community concerns to Cllr Bob Standley (Cabinet member for Education) and report back.

Councillor Andy Smith – County Councillor for North Peacehaven, Telscombe Cliffs and East Saltdean, spoke of his four years as a school governor and echoed one of the campaign’s key demands in stating that IEBs should be temporary nature.  The councillors highlighted that they had received many letters and asked that constituents continued to write to them.

Campaigners also urged parents to continue using this tool https://actionnetwork.org/letters/hands-off-peacehaven-schools to write to the decision makers at East Sussex County Council asking them to support the following campaign demands:

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

76 members of the school community have already sent over 300 letters to the decision makers at East Sussex County Council. The campaign continues.