Gavin Williamson’s ‘Try before you buy’ academy model rejected in East Sussex

Children, parents and teachers from Peacehaven Heights Primary school protested today at the continued efforts by East Sussex County Council to force the school into the STEP academy Trust.
In a recent speech by the education secretary Gavin Williamson East Sussex and STEP were praised for operating a ‘try before you buy’ system where schools could see what it is like to join a private academy trust.
What he did not mention is that to get to a position where STEP are providing leadership to the school the local governing body had to be removed and now teachers are taking industrial action to try and prevent the school being handed over permanently.
Phil Clarke local secretary of the National Education Union said:
“If this is an example of try an academy chain before you buy there is only one question the community here are asking and that is how do we get a refund? East Sussex County Council need to step up and say we have listened, our imposed board will now make way for a normal governing body accountable to the community and we will recruit a headteacher for the school. We are just asking for these basic necessities to be in place. Residents might want to consider why Peacehaven is being treated so differently to other areas by their own county council when they vote tomorrow.”
Caroline Gridley who has 2 children at the school explained:
“The chair of the imposed board has never visited the school, the lead member for education at East Sussex Council has never visited the school and yet they make decisions for the school that are clearly not in the interests of our children. Concreting over the swimming pool, stopping beach school, not listening when 69% of our brilliant teachers say they will be looking for other jobs. They have shown they cannot be trusted to run the school and they certainly cannot be trusted to make a decision like giving the school to a private academy trust.”
Parents, children and staff were joined by the local MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, council candidate Chris Collier and ex-chair of governors at the school Angela Mills at a loud and colourful rally in the local park.
Further industrial action by teachers is not ruled out and local community members are encouraged to sign this letter: