Potential Moulsecoomb academy sponsor rules itself out as school celebrates improved test results

Posted On 26 Jul 2019 at 2:23 pm

Banners on the March for Moulsecoomb, by Cllr Sarah Nield

The University of Brighton has turned down the chance to take on Moulsecoomb Primary School as an academy in the week the school celebrated a huge improvement in test results.

The government imposed an academy order on the school in June following an Ofsted report which rated the school as inadequate.

But on Wednesday, the school announced it had seen improvements in its year 2 SATs results, and said its unvalidated year 6 SATS results showed a “huge improvement”.

And late last night, the Hands Off Moulsecoomb Primary campaign said it had been informed the first academy trust approached to take over the school – which Brighton and Hove News understands is the Univeristy of Brighton Academies Trust – has declined the opportunity.

Heike Golightly, who has been helping lead the campaign, said: “I am really happy the potential sponsor has pulled out.

“They realised that our school will fight forced academisation all the way. Especially now that the latest SATS results are very positive.

“My message to academy trusts is go away, we don’t need you. Hands off our school!”

The Hands Off Campaign has seen more than 2,500 people sign a petition against the plans, hundreds stopping traffic by marching in protest, and a cross-party pledge from councillors to oppose the plans.

Concerns include the large salaries given to trust CEOs, the increased proportion of schools budgets spent on services such as HR, and the possibility of off-rolling disruptive or under-achieving pupils.

The regional schools commissioner has so far not reversed the decision, but the council is pushing for Ofsted to reinspect the school, which is one of the only ways academy orders can possibly be revoked.

A spokesperson for the University of Brighton Academies Trust said: “We can confirm that the University of Brighton Academies Trust has had no formal discussions regarding taking on Moulsecoomb Primary School and has no plans to do so.”

A council spokeswoman said the local authority could not comment on the process. The regional schools commissioner has been approached for comment.

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