‘Hove Park Not Gove Park’ say campaigners
A vibrant demonstration against the plan to convert Hove Park School into an academy took the form of a noisy march through Hove and a picnic in the park on Saturday, 5th July.
Car horns beeped in support as the gathering of some 200 parents and carers, teachers, students and residents made their way across the city to the sound of wheelie-bin drums and a bugle.
One marching councillor observed that residents of the genteel south coast resort are much less used to protest than those of its more rambunctious neighbour, Brighton. A rally in Hove Park, which featured speeches from Caroline Lucas MP, Alasdair Smith of the Anti-Academies Alliance and the school’s NUT rep, Liz Ritson, was followed by a Stand-up for Hove Park School comedy show.
Compere Mark Steel observed that a picnic is what might be expected of activism in Hove, as he introduced Shappi Khorsandi, whose son Cass even did a turn, along with local poet and veteran activist Attila the Stockbroker.
Caroline Lucas, who has actively campaigned on the issue, said, “Every child in this city deserves the best education we can offer. I want parents, pupils, staff, the local authority and members of the community to have oversight of our schools – not shareholders. “We want something different for our children, Mr Gove – a fair, transparent, accountable education system that puts their interests centre stage. So hands off Hove Park School.”
Members of the Hands Off Hove Park School campaign group are backing an NUT strike, planned before the end of term, by keeping their children away from school on the day of action. Since the academy plan was announced in April, campaigners have been granted a parental ballot, carried out by the Green-led council, and an election to fill vacant parent governor positions so pushing back the Governors planned decision meeting from July. The decision about academy conversion is now expected to take place on 22 September 2014.
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