Disappointment as trust appointed as new academy sponsors for Moulsecoomb Primary School.
Brighton and Hove Labour and Green councillors have pledged to keep fighting against the conversion of Moulsecoomb Primary School into an academy.
The Greens and Labour groups both responded to the announcement from the government’s Department for Education today, confirming the appointment of Pioneer Academy as the sponsor for the school, despite strong community, union and council opposition to academisation plans.
Brighton and Hove Greens said the announcement represented a ‘significant failure’ by government officials to grasp the community support for Moulsecoomb Primary.
Green Councillor Hannah Clare said: “The fight to prevent the forced academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary is far from over. This latest announcement only confirms how out of touch government decision makers are with the needs of the community and the clear, vocal and evidenced wishes of the school, staff and pupils.
“Moulsecoomb Primary is a community school, well rooted in the local area and with a strong understanding of local need. The school works hard to address disadvantage and support vulnerable pupils – work Ofsted has commended. In stark contrast, the Pioneer Trust’s ‘vision statement’ makes no real mention of addressing disadvantage, and run 11 schools on a ‘top down’ basis, none of which are based in the local area.
“Moulsecoomb Primary already has the staff, community, council, union and parent support it needs to keep going from strength to strength – something the Pioneer Trust will never be able to match. We will keep fighting this decision all the way.”
Labour councillors reacted with anger and disappointment to the news and said the decision flies in the face of the local community who have been vocal and clear that they do not want or need their school being forced to convert into an academy.
Labour said it has been campaigning tirelessly alongside staff, unions, and the wider community to fight against the attempts to make the improving school an academy. Staff at the school took part in strike action last month and then an Ofsted inspection was published praising the school.
Labour said the decision would pull Moulsecoomb Primary out of the Brighton & Hove family of schools, with the nearest Pioneer Academy Trust school being 27 miles away, and said a regional director of schools for Pioneer – Timothy Rowe – was one of the Ofsted inspectors who judged the school as ‘inadequate’ back in April 2019.
Councillor John Allcock, Labour’s spokesperson for children and young people said: "I am bitterly disappointed at the news today facing Moulsecoomb Primary School. Again, and again the local community has told the Government that they do not want or need their improving school to be forced into academisation.
“Today’s announcement that the Tory Government want to hand our school over to Pioneer Academy Trust, against the expressed will of parents, carers, teachers, staff, unions and the community at large is a real blow.
“But we will keep up the fight. The community has come together to fight off academy trusts before and will do so again, and they will do so with Labour’s full backing and support.
“Labour will continue to stand with the community and say with one voice: Hands off Moulsecoomb Primary School.”
On the Hands off Moulsecoomb Primary School Facebook page today, it said defiantly: "It’s not a done deal yet and we’ll continue fighting to make sure The Pioneer Academy Trust change their mind just like the others did!
"We’re in the same position now as when New Horizons Academy Trust were chosen as the sponsor in 2019. We campaigned against the decision then and they withdrew from the process. We can do the same again. We will be planning our next actions as soon as possible."
The Green party said Brighton and Hove City Council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee will be meeting next Thursday (April 29) to discuss holding an additional parental ballot about academisation. The previous ballot results indicated 96 per cent of parents were against an academy takeover.
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