Moulsecoomb parents see off another school sponsor – but more are lined up

Posted On 04 Oct 2019 at 2:13 pm

A child holding a banner at the March for Moulsecoomb. Picture by local head and NAHT member Hildi Mitchell

Campaigners against the academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary School have seen off another potential school sponsor after the Step Trust announced it was no longer in the running.

Parents waved banners and gave out leaflets when Step Academy Trust chief executive Mark Ducker and director of teaching Tim Mills visited last month.

The Hands Off Moulsecoomb campaign is opposing the academy order imposed on the school by the government following an Ofsted inspection which rated the school inadequate, which means the school would leave local authority control and be taken over by a private trust.

Since then, the school’s latest SATS results have shown a significant improvement and campaigners and Brighton and Hove City Council are requesting a re-inspection.

Meanwhile, the University of Brighton turned down an approach from the government to potentially sponsor the school – and now Step Trust has also ruled itself out.

However, it did say there are other potential sponsors which could take over the school.

A spokeswoman for Step Trust said: “Following our visit to Moulsecoomb Primary School last week, we are of a similar view to the Regional Schools Commissioner; that a significant amount of immediate support is required in order for the school to improve.

Our mission at STEP Academy Trust is to improve the life chances of all children. Where we have the capacity to make a difference, we are morally bound to do so.

“However, after due consideration, we feel that there are other potential sponsors that are better placed, at this time, to support the staff and children of Moulsecoomb. We have, therefore, notified the RSC that STEP is withdrawing from the process of identifying an academy partner.

“We would like to thank the head teacher, chair of governors, staff and children of Moulsecoomb Primary School, for the very warm welcome we were given last week and wish them well for the future.”

Moulsecoomb councillor Dan Yates said: “Since the arrival of its new headteacher and with strong support from local parents teachers and governors the school has begun the process of improving the outcomes of its students.

“We will know on Monday the results of the parental ballot and that will hopefully send a strong message from parents that they want to continue that journey alongside the local authority rather than under the control and influence of a distant academy chain.”

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