Strikes likely in Peacehaven Schools as East Sussex County Council refused to delay Academy consultation during lockdown.

National Education Union members have been left with no choice but to start industrial action ballots at Peacehaven Heights and Telscombe Cliffs schools as the governing bodies imposed by East Sussex County Council refused to agree to hold off on consultation during the lockdown.

The schools normal governing bodies were sacked after they decided not to hand the school over to a private academy trust in 2019. The replacement imposed governing bodies which have no parent or community members were written to by the National Education Union asking for them to not consult when parents and staff are not able to meet and discuss the proposals in person. This request has been rejected and members of the union have indicated to the union that they support moving to industrial action to prevent the school being handed over.

Phil Clarke joint NEU branch Secretary explained “This is yet another example of the local people of Peacehaven being treated with contempt by East Sussex County Council. The irreversible decision to give the schools away to a private organisation should not be being taken by imposed governors without links to the community in normal times. To press ahead with a consultation when parents can’t even meet in person and discuss the merits is inexcusable. Our members never strike unless it is a last resort and were very keen to do all they could to avoid a strike when the children’s education is already so disrupted. We publicly ask again that the council commit to at least waiting until after the pandemic. If they do we would not proceed with calling strikes during this difficult period.”

Local parent Vicky Hawkins added, “East Sussex County Council have sacked our governors, they have shut our swimming pool, they have stood in the way of consistent leadership at the schools and put the interests of academy chains above those of our children. Our town council is against this process our MP is against this process. We want our County Councillors to listen and come out against this process. Many parents in Peacehaven like me will be looking very closely at how the current conservative councillors respond and will be voting and encouraging friends and family to vote accordingly if they let us down again.”

Parents and members of the community are being asked to write to East Sussex Council and can use a model letter to help them https://actionnetwork.org/letters/meaningful-consultation-now/