Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Lib Dems call for schools to be open on childrens’ future

Worthing Liberal Democrats are today calling on all Worthing School Boards of Governors to hold their regular meetings in public.  The call follows the current controversy over the proposed conversion of Worthing High Trust School to an academy which was approved by the school governors behind closed doors.

Parents and teachers were refused entry to listen to the proceedings at the Board of Governors meeting held on Wednesday May 30th where governors voted to move to Academy status.

Last night the parents gathered again at Worthing High’s gates to register their protest as the governors arrived at the next Board of Governors meeting but this time the venue was secretly switched at the last minute to the Nsure Group premises in Rowlands Road.

The Chair of the Board of Governors, Mr Tony Cohen, is Managing Director of Nsure Financial Services.  The parents were not to be dissuaded by the move and went en masse to protest outside the building asking again the Board of Governors to meet with them without success.

Board of Governors meetings are not required to be held in public and anyone can be excluded including parents but copies of minutes must be supplied to any reasonable request.

Worthing Liberal Democrats understand parents had to resort to using a Freedom of Information request to even obtain these.  The form of meeting Worthing Liberal Democrats envisage is the one used by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) County Local Committee (CLC) meetings which are meetings held in public rather than public meetings.  CLC meetings include a public question time where concerns can be raised but the public are simply observers for the meat of the meeting.  This ability to observe shows democracy in action in a transparent way – something which has been sorely missed at Worthing High.

West Sussex County Councillor for Tarring, Bob Smytherman, whose division Worthing High resides, said:

“This is potentially a life changing decision for the children attending Worthing High but the parents of those children are denied even to listen to the discussion – let alone participate.”

Worthing Liberal Democrats feel that all right thinking governors will recognise meetings in public must be the way forward.  That is why we are calling today on all Worthing school governors to hold future meetings in public. Let Worthing schools shine a light for others to follow.”

The protest was scheduled to be held outside Worthing High School in South Farm Road yesterday (Thursday) June 28, from 5.30pm, – the Worthing High governors however got to hear of the protest andat the last minute switched the venue to NSure premises in Rowlands Road to try and avoid seeing parents, however once prompted by someone from the school of the move parents, children and campaigners moved the protest swiftly to the new venue.

Photos from protest are available from Worthing High Academy Action Group by contacting Sarah Maynard at worthinghighacademyactiongroup@hotmail.com