Dozens of school teachers and staff at Moulsecoomb Primary School have walked out this morning in protest at plans to turn it into an academy.
The government ordered that the school be handed over to an academy trust in June, after it was rated inadequate by Ofsted in May.
Members of the NEU, GMB and Unison unions have all voted unanimously on full turnouts to strike. Members of the NEU and GMB are walking out today, with Unison due to set a date later.
Staff and parents concerns have grown since it was announced that the trust set to take over the school is New Horizons, which previously had to hand over another school it converted in Worthing after more than half the staff quit.
The trust which took over The Laurels in Worthing, Durrington Multi Academy Trust, suggested that there was financial mismanagement – which NEw Horizons strongly denies.
Instead, it has blamed the disastrous conversion on the Worthing school’s staff, saying its “values did not align”.
It has also told parent campaigners, who call themselves Hands Off Moulsecoomb, that those leading the school “did not place the same level of importance on all aspects needed to run a successful and sustainable school.”
The trust has so far failed to respond to requests from councillors and Brighton and Hove News to see the minutes of its trustees meetings, which its articles of association say must be publicly available.
Brighton and Hove councillors from all parties have voted to oppose the plans, and a report on the suitability of New Horizons is to be prepared for the Children, Young People and Skills Committee.
However, the decision ultimately rests with the Regional Schools Commissioner, which has said it intends to press ahead with the plans.
One possibly way the order could be dropped is if the school is reinspected by Ofsted. The school has seen a big improvement in its SATS results, so if reinspected there is a good chance it could improve its rating.