‘Hands off our school’: Residents oppose academy plans for Moulsecoomb Primary School

Moulsecoomb Primary School (Credit: Google)
Moulsecoomb Primary School (Credit: Google)

Parents are fighting the academisation of a primary school which was given the worst possible rating by education watchdog Ofsted.

Moulsecoomb Primary School has been told by the Department of Education it will be taken over by an academy sponsor after its ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating.

Read more: Brighton school could be forced to become an academy after 'inadequate' rating

Moulsecoomb Primary School rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted

But both parents and city councillors are getting behind the Hands off Moulsecoomb Primary School campaign, with more than 1,000 people signing a petition.

'Hands off Moulsecoomb School'

Local campaigner and Green Party candidate Mitchie Alexander said: “It would be the worst possible outcome to privatise the school by making it an academy. The community was really shocked at the Ofsted report as everyone says what a good school it is.

“It comes across as a warm school and inclusive of the whole community.”

The parent-led Hands Off Moulsecoomb Primary School campaign said: “After more than 10 years of the academy school project, there is no evidence that academies raise standards.”

The group is holding a meeting at the school on Tuesday (June 18) from 6pm.

Council opposition

Cllr Nick Childs, Labour chair of the council’s children’s committee, said: “Potential academy sponsors coveting our lovely Moulescoomb Primary should take note that they will face concerted opposition from across our community.

“Brighton Labour Council oppose any attempt to privatise Moulescoomb Primary and we will not stand by and watch our school being handed over to a private academy company without a fight.”

Moulsecoomb Primary School is set to become an academy after it was given the worst possible rating by education watchdog Ofsted.

Concerns raised by inspectors included the quality of teaching, pupil’s attendance and ‘rough play’ in the playground.

The regional schools commissioner has said he is currently considering a suitable academy sponsor for the school.

Union support

But it's not just parents and the council that opposes the move. The unions aren't happy either.

Matt Webb, education convener of UNISON in Brighton and Hove, said: "Moulsecoomb Primary is an important and much loved community school servicing some of Brighton’s most socially deprived areas. Like all schools across our city it has suffered greatly from the continued cuts made by the incumbent government and the coalition government that proceeded it.

"UNISON are opposed in principle to the privatisation, commodification and outsourcing of educational services at Moulsecoomb Primary and any other school. This branch cannot and will not stand back whilst our community schools are handed over to private and commercial interests. It doesn’t work, it isn’t fair and it isn’t right.

"Although we are expected to see forced academisation as an inevitability of schools struggling under continued government cuts, this branch will take any and all action necessary to oppose the forced academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary and anywhere else.

"Schools need adequate funding – not privatisation."

Sue Beatty, branch secretary of UNISON in Brighton and Hove, said: “Evidence shows academies do not have better outcomes for children and this branch is determined to ensure that Moulscoomb Primary does not become an academy.

"Contractual terms and conditions for our members will suffer, leading to low morale and high turnover of staff; this can never be good for the children and their families who use such a great community school. We will play our full part in this wide ranging campaign to save Moulscoomb Primary”

To find out more about the Hands Off Moulsecoomb School campaign visit: https://www.facebook.com/HandsOffMoulsecoomb