Council calls on minister to stop ‘forced’ academisation of Moulsecoomb school

Cllr Nick Childs (second left), with other Labour councillors, has spoken out over the academy order
Cllr Nick Childs (second left), with other Labour councillors, has spoken out over the academy order

The council has vowed to fight the ‘ideological obsession with privatisation’ as it hit out at plans to turn Moulsecoomb Primary School into an academy.

Councillors voted to ballot parents on the ‘forced’ academy order, which would take the school out of the local authority’s hands.

The order came from the Regional Schools Commissioner after the school was rated ‘inadequate’ by education watchdog Ofsted.

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This week, councillors met with representatives of the commissioner, but said ‘they made their disregard for the views of local people and elected politicians very clear’.

Now the council is set to take the battle all the way to the top, urging the Secretary of State for Education to step in.

Cllr Nick Childs, who has responsibility locally for schools, said: “We asked for a commitment from the commissioner’s team that they would accept and act on the outcome of a parental ballot. We also proposed reasonable time should be allowed for our school improvement plan to demonstrate more progress. They would give no such assurances.

“Instead they made their disregard for the views of local people and elected politicians very clear. More frustrating was their ideological obsession with privatisation as the only way to improve a school. This is in the face of clear evidence to the contrary when presented with the exemplary record of school performance in Brighton & Hove.”

“We now have no alternative, as a council, but to write directly to the Secretary of State. We will be asking the Right Honourable Damian Hinds MP to exercise his powers to revoke the forced academy order without delay.”

Brighton and Hove City Council said since the Ofsted rating ‘extensive support is being given to the school’ and that ‘standards are rising’.

In response, a Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are striving for a world class education for all children regardless of background, and when we see issues of underperformance we will not hesitate to take swift action.

“Moulsecoomb Primary School was issued an academy order because it was rated inadequate by Ofsted – our priority is, and always should be, the wellbeing, safeguarding and education of pupils.

“We have seen many sponsored academies dramatically improve their Ofsted results following conversion and converter academies are performing well above the national average.”