Peacehaven pupils call for permanent headteacher to be appointed at school

Pupils at Peacehaven Heights Primary school held a socially-distanced protest on Friday to call for a permanent headteacher to be appointed at their school.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 2:08 pm
Pupils held a socially-distanced protest in Peacehaven

They displayed a banner asking ‘Where’s our head at?’, a question directed at the Interim Executive Board (IEB) which runs the primary school.

The school has had five head teachers in the last five years, according to parents.

Vicky Hawkins, parent of a child in Year three, said: “Since the autumn of 2019, the IEB has made just one attempt to recruit a headteacher which was in February 2020 and have blamed Covid for the delays, but they have still managed to recruit a Deputy Head. So why no headteacher?

“It is not acceptable to leave the school for this long without the stability of a permanent headteacher.

“We feel that the appointment of a new Head is being purposely delayed to justify bringing in an academy trust to take over the school.”

The board was imposed on the school by East Sussex County Council in September 2019 with an expectation from the Department for Education to ‘actively consider a sponsored academy solution’ for the school.

Parent campaigners fear the IEB could push through academy conversion without a meaningful consultation – which they argue cannot take place until parents are able to meet in person to discuss any proposals.

But the county council said the IEB had confirmed that it would not hold a consultation on the plans until all covid restrictions had been lifted.

The National Education Union is currently balloting its members at the school to take strike action over possible academy plans.

A public meeting has been called on Zoom for parents and concerned members of the community for Tuesday, April 20 – find out more here.

Phil Clarke, National Education Union Branch Secretary in East Sussex, said: “Our members don’t take strike action lightly because they are well aware of the disruption it causes to education and parents.

“But they took strike action over exactly the same issue in 2019 and feel strongly enough to do it again.

“We support the parents entirely reasonable demands that consultation should not take place until they can meet in person and that a proper locally run Governing Body should be reinstated before any decision is made about the future of the school.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “It has recently been confirmed by the Interim Executive Board (IEB) at Peacehaven Heights that the current interim headteacher will remain in post until Easter 2022.

“The decision to consult on academy conversion is, in this instance, made by the IEB of the school.

“The IEB has confirmed that, in response to concerns from some parents, the board will not hold a consultation until all the current lockdown requirements are removed so that everyone is reassured it is a meaningful consultation.”