Brighton & Hove City Council considers “embracing” Nicky Morgan’s U-bend

Statement from Hands Off Our Schools Brighton & Hove

When the Brighton & Hove Council Children’s Committee sits on 6th June, item 15 on the agenda will be a proposal to “embrace & bend” government proposals for schools to become academies. Hands Off Our Schools Brighton is committed to fighting academisation proposals in every form. We demand locally accountable, creative, autonomous and fully inclusive schools with qualified teachers for ALL our children. Other councils have rejected the government’s plans outright, we expect no less from Brighton & Hove.
Statement follows:
Late last week, Brighton & Hove Council proposed a way forward with the government’s plans for forced academisation of our schools. They wish to “embrace & bend” government plans rather than reject them outright. Hands Off Our Schools Brighton & Hove was formed in April after parents, carers, teachers & governors were outraged by the government’s announcement of the Education White paper and we are still determined to resist these plans and defend our schools, teachers and children’s education.
In presentations to head teachers & governors, it is being suggested that the Council could form a trust, a pre-emptive measure that, it is claimed, apparently safeguards against being forced to convert. This particular model for a trust is not new. Some models have adopted Multi Academy Trust (MAT) status, some have been seen as pre-MATs. It would be unfair to suggest that the creation of a trust of this sort means schools will become academies, but it’s difficult to believe that the intention is anything other than to prepare for academisation (forced or otherwise). We suggest that it’s not difficult to imagine the trust becoming a MAT if needed and for the Council to withdraw from schools, indeed one local school governor has described the council’s proposal as “schools setting up their own MAT”.
We are determined that this will not be the future for our children’s education or for our schools autonomy. We want locally accountable, creative & fully inclusive schools with qualified teachers for ALL our children. We do not want our schools run by MATs – even if the MAT is encouraged or chosen by some local Councillors. We see risks in this proposal that include schools becoming academies without a democratic decision by all parents and staff involved with each school and a tacit acceptance of the ideological narrative by government, that wholesale privatisation of education is either desirable or acceptable.
The Council’s Children’s Committee meets on 6th June to request formal engagement from stakeholders (that’s teachers, parents, carers & pupils amongst others) about the preferred ‘partnership model’. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure YOUR voice is heard.
Join us to protect & defend our schools, our teachers and our children’s education. 
* Write to your local Councillor or to the leader of the Council to protest. A number of Councils elsewhere in the country have already expressed their total opposition to any plans for forced academisation; there is no reason why Brighton & Hove Council cannot do the same.
* Raise awareness of this issue with other parents/carers at your child’s school – you can ask us for flyers to help. 
* If you’re a teacher, talk to your colleagues. The NUT have made their opposition to academisation plans clear and are currently balloting members for strike action.
* Ask your Governing Body to make it clear they will not join a trust before proper consultation of and with the wholesale agreement of parents and staff.
Hands Off Our Schools Brighton & Hove

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