Steep drop in applications to school set to become an academy

Posted On 21 Apr 2020 at 11:25 am

The picket line at Moulsecoomb during a strike against academy plans in November – Picture from the NEU

The number of parents applying for a place at a primary school due to be turned into an academy has dropped by a third since last year.

An academy order was placed on Moulsecoomb Primary School last June after an Ofsted inspection rated it as inadequate.

Last year, 31 parents put the school down as a first preference and were given a place. No parents putting the school down as second or third preference were given a place.

This year, just 22 put the school down as first preference, a drop of 30 per cent. Again, no second or third preference applications were placed there, which means the two-form entry school has filled just a third of its 60 places.

The number of applications at the school had been dropping gradually in the past few years, as more students have moved into the area and families have been priced out.

In September 2019, the number of places offered at the school dropped from 90 to 60 – which coincided with a boost in the numbers applying.

The same gradual drop has been true for other schools in the area – but this year, applications to Bevendean Primary and Coldean Primary rose slightly.

National Education Union regional officer Craig Arden, who has been helping run the Hands off Moulsecoomb Primary School campaign with parents, said: “It is a real shame to see that this disastrous academisation process and the toxic accountability system in schools is clearly putting parents off choosing Moulsecoomb Primary School for their children.

“Labelling a school inadequate and forcing it to go through an unnecessary and unwanted academisation process is incredibly irresponsible and damaging.

“Moulsecoomb Primary School is not inadequate. In fact, it is improving rapidly in all areas, which has been only been made more difficult by the head teacher being forced to waste his energies on academisation.

“Parents in Brighton and Hove do not want unaccountable academy schools in our city. The parents at Moulsecoomb Primary School voted overwhelmingly against the school becoming an academy in the council run parental ballot, now prospective parents are voting with their feet.

“When will the government listen to parents and the community, stop this ridiculous saga and allow the school to completely focus on what it’s supposed to; delivering good quality, inclusive education for the pupils of Moulsecoomb Primary School.”

Since the academy order was passed last summer, two potential sponsors have turned down the chance to take on the school.

Brighton University was the first preferred sponsor of the Department for Education but declined the chance to take on the school after a meeting of its trustees.

New Horizons, which runs a school in Lancing, pulled out after an aggressive campaign against it by Hands off Moulsecoomb Primary School.

In March, an interim reinspection by Ofsted praised the school for making improvements despite the distractions of academisation.

However, the academy order still stands.

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Paragraph five: “less families” should be “fewer families”

  2. regina Reply

    “the toxic accountability system in schools is clearly putting parents off choosing Moulsecoomb Primary School ”
    “Parents in Brighton and Hove do not want unaccountable academy schools”
    Confused – is it the accountability or the unaccountability that is putting parents off??

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