The sponsor set to take on Moulsecoomb Primary as an academy has been announced as New Horizons Academy Trust.
Brighton and Hove City Council has expressed anger and disappointment that the government’s Regional Schools Commissioner has chosen a sponsor which it says has a poor track record.
In a recent ballot, 96% of parents and carers who took part said they were against their school becoming an academy – and all three unions representing staff at the school are currently balloting for strike action.
Councillor Kate Knight is vice chair of the council’s children, young people and skills committee, and also represents Moulsecoomb as a ward councillor. She said:
“I am furious, but not surprised, that the government is ignoring the wishes of the school’s parents, governors and dedicated staff in such a blatant way.
“They have decided to push ahead with their academy plan in the face of overwhelming cross-party local opposition.
“The result of our ballot couldn’t have been clearer – local people want their school to stay locally and democratically accountable.
“We have specific concerns about the academy trust the commissioner has chosen.
“NHAT has no track record of positive whole school improvement on this scale – quite the reverse, in fact.
“It has had two converter academies, one of which was later handed over, by the Regional Schools Commissioner, to another academy chain due to concerns about the management of the school.
“In fact, the sponsor’s track record within their one remaining school only appears to deliver average outcomes.
“Staff at the school have been working hard and successfully to improve performance at the school.
“Their Key Stage 2 results this summer in reading / writing / maths combined have gone up by nearly 30 percentage points compared to last year, and are the best in four years.
“I feel desperately sad for these staff, after all the excellent work they’ve put in to turn the school round. This is a real slap in the face for them.
“But I know that they absolutely have not given up and that they have the full support of the parents.
“This administration will continue to stand up for the school and the community and demand that their voices are heard
“We will be writing to the Regional Schools Commissioner and the Secretary of State for Education to once again call on them to respect the wishes of local people.
“We will be calling on them to stop forcing through changes that are not just unnecessary but also highly disruptive and damaging to pupils at the school.”