Planning and Launch Meeting: April 6th 6.30pm Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton
Thousands of parents and teachers in Brighton & Hove have already signed national petitions against the Government’s proposals to ignore the wishes of parents, head teachers and their staff, school governors and elected councillors and force schools out of their local authority families of schools to become academies.
These proposals include the abolition of places for parents on school governing bodies and ignore the wealth of evidence that shows that forcing schools to become academies does not improve schools at all.
Most Brighton & Hove local authority community schools are good and popular and all are improving. Parents, teachers and governors have not chosen to take their schools out of the local authority or to convert their schools to academies.
Come and join the meeting at 6.30pm on April 6th at the Friends Meeting House, hear from local teachers and parent campaigns against academies and help plan a campaign to keep our schools as good local authority schools with parents represented on governing bodies. All welcome.
In the meantime here are the petitions: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124747 and https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124702 and here are some links to articles and comment that show the range of views opposed to the proposals:
And here are details of a national meeting in London on April 23rd: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/parents-campaigning-against-academies-tickets-23824318177
The news that the Government intends to try and force some 16,000 schools to become academies by 2022, while also removing the requirement that parents should have places on governing bodies and watering down the role of universities in training teachers, is staggering. Even if a case can be made for interfering in the governance of schools that are not successful where they have been overseen by weak local authorities there can be no justification for forcing successful schools in successful local authorities to hand themselves (and their assets) over to multi academy trusts against the wishes of the head teacher, school staff and the parents of children at the school and even against the wishes of the school’s governing body.
You will have seen some of the press coverage of responses to the proposals and, of course, will be aware that not a single school of the more than 70 schools in Brighton & Hove has ever voluntarily converted to an academy. In fact the city has only three academies. There have also been hugely successful campaigns in the city against proposals to convert schools to academies – most famously the Hands Off Hove Park School campaign but also at Varndean School. And you might be interested to know that Brighton & Hove is the most improved Local Authority in the country for GCSE results (http://schoolsweek.co.uk/gcses-2015-local-authority-analysis-who-did-well-and-who-did-badly/).
Forced academies are not needed and more academies not wanted in our city.
We are in the process of working with parents involved in the Hove Park Campaign, the Varndean School campaign, the NUT in the city and Sussex, staff from the University of Brighton’s School of Education, Trades Council and Unison officers and supporters of the Campaign for Education in Brighton & Hove to organise a meeting to put pressure on politicians to defend our schools and to support school head teachers, staff, parents and governors who do not wish their school to be forced to become an academy. Please watch our twitter feed for more details.
In the meantime: please sign this national petition against forced academies if you haven’t done so already: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124747 And have a look at the map associated with the petition that shows a very high number of residents of Brighton & Hove are opposed to the proposals to force all schools to become academies.
If you read this before Wednesday March 23rd and you can get to London on that day, a lobby of the Department for Education, Great Smith Street, Westminster, has been called for 5pm by a number of London NUT branches. We also know that this matter will be discussed at the NUT conference (that happens to take place in Brighton) later this month.
For more information on these proposals -that will be disastrous for schools and children – please look at the websites of the NUT, the Anti Academies Alliance, the Local Schools Network and the Socialist Education Association. Here are the links:
Today, many teachers in VI Form Colleges will go on strike. This includes VI Form teachers in Brighton and Hove
The teachers are members of the NUT, and their reasons for taking action are set out here.
Strike action is always an action of last resort. However, when those with power impose unjust policies, and refuse to have a dialogue about alternatives, then what is the last resort often becomes the only option.
The Brighton and Hove Campaign for Education supports a fully funded comprehensive education service. The current cuts to VI Form funding undermine that commitment. They add to the problems faced by post 16 education (in schools, VI Form Colleges and FE Colleges) across the City and County.
There is an urgent need for coherent, community controlled post-16 provision in our area. Current policies are a million miles away from this – austerity driven cuts imposed from above are all that is on offer.
Today Brighton and Hove NUT members are standing up for something different and better. The Campaign is proud to stand with them. We hope that other teacher unions will join this campaign, and that students too will see that the real damage to their education is caused by deep and unnecessary budget cuts.
If we stand up, and stand together, we can begin to build a much more optimistic alternative. Today’s action is a significant contribution to that goal.
(with thanks to the Nottingham Campaign for Education )
It was from the local Hastings Observer that UoB staff at Hastings discovered at the end of January that the university was considering closing down the Hastings campus and now the Board of Governors of the University of Brighton has taken the decision to close the Hastings campus over the next two years leaving staff, students and residents of Hastings feeling betrayed and angry. The staff unions are committed to fighting the closure as are students who reacted angrily at the Vice Chancellor’s statement to in Hastings today and have used the Facebook group to condemn the decision (including video footage of a march through Hastings). The local Labour Party in Hastings is also mounting a campaign and it is interesting to see Amber Rudd the conservative MP for Hastings joining the opposition. A bit rich some might say since it is the business ethos this government and her party are committed to introducing into the running of universities which is clearly informing Debra Humphris’ and the Board of Governors’ decision. This is what you get when business priorities are made to trump all other values in HE. Values like widening participation, community engagement and civic responsibility. This isn’t just about the campus in Hastings – it is about the very soul of the university!
by Lis Bundock
Just after midnight on March 29th, 2014, my partner and I waited patiently outside the Brighton Pavilion to see one of the first same-sex marriages celebrated amidst a large and exuberant crowd. That evening, I felt certain that we were witnessing a moment in history where new legislation would signal a positive change for equality and the recognition of LGBT people and their families. I’d felt this kind of hope before, back in 2010 with the Equalities act, but this time I felt that that the impact of new legislation would be even more far reaching.
Despite the weight of this legislative endorsement and the potential for it to impact on communities more widely, there is still work to be done. The green flag waved by UK law should have paved the way for schools to create truly accepting and inclusive spaces, but almost 2 years on and we are still witnessing headlines like this, published in Schools Week, in the last few days:
‘One in three pupils believe it’s not safe to be openly gay, lesbian or bisexual in school’
The headline is drawn from a report by the charity Diversity Role Models and echoes the findings of Stonewall’s 2012 School Report that identified that over half of the LGBT pupils interviewed experience homophobic bullying and almost 99% of those interviewed continue to hear derogatory comments such as ‘poof’ and ‘lezza’. Whilst both reports acknowledge that significant inroads have been made in tackling homophobia within schools and celebrating difference, it is clear that we cannot afford to be complacent. Continue reading
Below is a contribution from a supporter of the Campaign. We are publishing it in the interest of debate and discussion please add comments or email us with a contribution and we will publish it.
Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise even though a House of Commons Select Committee found no evidence that academies (and free schools are a type of academy) improve school performance and indeed there is evidence that schools are less likely to improve if they become academies . One third of Free Schools have been rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ compared to only one fifth of Local Authority Schools. We know academies and free schools are unpopular with the public and recent revelations (for eg AET, England’s largest academy chain found to be ‘failing too many pupils’) only deepen concerns. But the government is not interested in evidence or public opinion – they are on an ideological mission to transform our education system and turn every school into an academy and keen to find any partner who will help them to achieve this.
Nadia Edmond, University of Brighton
There has been a transformation in English education in the last decade – the academies programme has brought private trusts and corporate sponsors into the schools system. These have included a steady trickle of the country’s universities as they seek a business advantage, a better corporate image, and perhaps even a revenue stream. All this while attempting to also steer a way clear of ethical and reputational risks.
Education policy in England, as elsewhere, assumes the effectiveness of market competition in driving up performance. In Higher Education (HE) this has resulted in rising fees, competition for students, and institutions jostling for position. The impact of corporate language and culture is evident in the increasing focus on the “business case”; on marketing and branding. The stratified nature of the sector is reflected in the way universities and other higher education institutions market themselves to distinguish their offer, construct their identities and position themselves in the “market”.
In the schools sector, the same policy assumptions have resulted in the “academies programme” and increased privatisation and diversification. By September 2015, 64% of secondary schools and 16% of primary schools had been taken over by private trusts. Continue reading