Hastings group, Hands Off Castledown! hands petition to county council

Parents campaigning against plans to turn Castledown School into an academy handed a petition to the county council today (Tuesday, February 7).

Tuesday, 7th February 2017, 11:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th February 2017, 1:06 pm
Cllrs Kim Forward, Judy Rogers, Tania Charman and Godfrey Daniel, parents and ESCC chairman Michael Ensor

Louise Hersee, from Hands Off Castledown!, together with other parents, delivered the document containing 1,100 signatures to East Sussex County Council (ESCC) chairman, Michael Ensor.

Since the Ark Academy Trust announced its proposals for Castledown, objectors have started a Facebook page, which has hundreds of members, as well as the petition.

The school’s governors said results and attainment at Castledown had been ‘very disappointing’ in recent years and added the best way forward was to start ‘detailed discussions’ with Ark.

Those who signed the petition have vented their opposition to the plans.

Elena Hoicka said: “Schools shouldn’t be privatised. Teachers must have qualifications. Creativity is imperative in the curriculum.”

Chris Kingsland said: “The takeover of Castledown should be considered as hostile, particularly given that the parents were neither informed nor consulted about the plan.”

Jean-Paul Dunin said: “Castledown is a community school and should remain so. Hastings prides itself on being a creative community and this has to start with education. Children have to right to a creative approach and this will be significantly undermined by academy status.

“Sport and activity will also suffer and this is inexcusable with rising rates of childhood obesity and the risk of diabetes.”

A meeting was held by Castledown on January 23 when parents were told of the plans.

A consultation will run until early March and governors hope the school will be an Ark academy from September 1.

ESCC said it had no concerns over the school’s plan to convert into an academy.

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