Labour Councillors have reacted with anger and disappointment to the news that the Conservative Government’s Regional Schools Commissioners office has appointed Pioneer Academy Trust as the new academy sponsors for Moulsecoomb Primary School.
Labour say this decision flies in the face of the local community who have been vocal and clear that they do not want or need their school being forced to convert into an academy.
Labour have been campaigning tirelessly alongside staff, unions, and the wider community to fight against the Government’s stubborn attempts to force academisation onto an already improving local primary school.
Ofsted’s recent visit to the school marked Moulsecoomb Primary’s second very positive monitoring report from Ofsted in as many years, demonstrating that the school is already improving and working effectively with parents, carers, the community and the council towards becoming a ‘good’ school. Moulsecoomb Primary clearly does not need academisation thrust upon it, and the parental ballot showed that parents clearly do not want academisation either.
Labour also note with serious concern the seeming unsuitability of Pioneer Academy Trust as a sponsor. Not only will this decision pull Moulsecoomb Primary out of the Brighton & Hove family of schools, with the nearest Pioneer Academy Trust school being 27 miles away, but a Regional Director of Schools for Pioneer – Timothy Rowe – was one of the Ofsted inspectors who judged the school as ‘inadequate’ back in April 2019.
Labour are also concerned about the overall record of academies that are imposed on disadvantaged communities. Labour point to the recent Sutton Trust report that damningly found two in three academy chains are failing pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and 38 of the 58 academy chains performed below the national average for all state schools.
Councillor John Allcock, Labour’s spokesperson for children and young people said:
“I am bitterly disappointed at the news today facing Moulsecoomb Primary School. Again, and again the local community has told the Government that they do not want or need their improving school to be forced into academisation.
“Today’s announcement that the Tory Government want to hand our school over to Pioneer Academy Trust, against the expressed will of parents, carers, teachers, staff, unions and the community at large is a real blow.
“But we will keep up the fight. The community has come together to fight off academy trusts before and will do so again, and they will do so with Labour’s full backing and support.
“Labour will continue to stand with the community and say with one voice: Hands off Moulsecoomb Primary School.”
Image: Hands Off Moulsecoomb Primary School