Controversial academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary School will cost city council more than £300,000
New figures released this week show Brighton and Hove City Council will be left with a cost of more than £300,000 if Moulsecoomb Primary School becomes an academy.
The council has actively backed the fight against the plan to turn the school into an academy, a decision imposed by the Secretary of State for Education after the school was rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted in April 2019.
Since then, campaigners have fought vigorously for the academy order to be revoked, holding strike days and a rally. The campaigners argue the school has improved significantly since the inspection, something that was evident after an Ofsted inspector praised the school after a subsequent monitoring visit this year. Inspectors praise Brighton primary school under threat of academy conversion |
Last week, it was estimated the cost to the council following the academisation would be £209,000. However, in a report going to the council’s Policy & Resources committee on Thursday, July 1, the council has now said that the legal costs of the process will reach £317,000.
At last week's schools’ forum, it was reporteed that headteachers and Governors were concerned at the impact on their budgets from the costs the council will incur through the forced academy order. However, the city's Greens have said they will not push these costs onto other schools.
The funding will instead come from one-off funding identified from last year's final budget figures.
Councillor Hannah Clare, chair of the children, young people and skills committee, said: "These costs are eye-watering – and it’s shameful that the Government are not only taking away the school from our community but forcing us to pay for it too. This is just one of many ways the Government are forcing their failed ideology of academy schools on the city, no matter the feelings of the parents, children and staff.
“We are taking the funding from our general fund, meaning it will not impact other schools in the city. But this will have an impact on the council budget overall, proving once again that academisation is a no-win for everybody. We remain committed to fight against the forced. academisation at Moulsecoomb Primary School.”
A further day of strike action is planned at the school next week on July 6 as campaigners and unions show their determination not to stop trying to halt the academy plan.
Last week, The Pioneer Academy Trust , which was confirmed as the sponsor for the school by the Department for Education in April 2021, announced it would be would be funding the entire cost of the Year 6 residential trip in 2022.
A spokesman said: "The trust knows how important experiences like these are to help develop children’s knowledge, skills and friendships and wants every one of their students to benefit from these opportunities."
The trust also said it was providing support and assistance to existing teachers, including headteacher Adam Sutton, who will remain in his role.
The spokesman added: "Providing proper support to staff is vital and the trust have been spending some time thinking through the type of support that they will be able to offer this autumn term."
Lee Mason Ellis, chief executive at The Pioneer Academy, said: “Promoting the wellbeing of our staff and pupils is really important to us and we are keen to make sure everyone is supported. Our motto is Safe - Happy - Learning. We treat everyone as equal, celebrate diversity and protect the health, safety and welfare of everyone in our care.”