Labour’s spokesperson for children and young people, Councillor John Allcock, has today written to the CEO of Pioneer Trust – the academy sponsor the Government has identified to take over Moulsecoomb Primary School – and urged them to withdraw. You can write your own letter to the CEO by using the Hands Off Moulsecoomb Primary School campaign’s easy letter-writing tool here:

Dear Mr Mason-Ellis,

I am writing to you in my capacity as the Labour Party spokesperson for Children, Young People & Skills Committee on Brighton & Hove City Council, regarding Moulsecoomb Primary School – that your academy trust has been chosen to potentially take over in the future.

You will be aware, because many people have already written to you, that there is enormous community opposition to the plans to forcibly take over our school.

Since the school became subject to an academy order, over 2,700 people have signed a petition calling on the Secretary of State for Education to revoke it.

At a Brighton & Hove City Council, Full Council meeting on Thursday 25th March, a motion was passed with unanimous support from the two main parties, that the council should reaffirm ‘its commitment to stand by parents, staff, unions and community in opposing the forced academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary, as there should be no academisation without community consent’.

The campaign to keep the school within the local authority has also been well supported by local MPs and politicians across the political spectrum.

Brighton & Hove City Council ran a ballot of parents to ask if they wanted the school to become an academy and 96% of parents voted against the school being taken over by an academy trust.

Parents, staff, councillors, our MP and the community more widely are united to oppose this move. Staff have already taken strike action and will be taking further strike action unless your trust withdraws from the process. We will support them all the way, as we have done from the start.

You will also be aware that since Ofsted rated Moulsecoomb Primary School “inadequate” in 2019, the school has been on a trajectory of improvement. SATs results a matter of months later significantly improved in all areas, and monitoring visits from Ofsted have witnessed improvements in the 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. I’m really pleased to see the hard work of the school being recognised despite the challenges of the pandemic and this further calls into question the validity of the argument for academising this improving school.

Moulsecoomb Primary clearly does not need academisation thrust upon it, and the parental ballot showed that parents clearly do not want academisation either.

Moulsecoomb Primary School is based in a community with high levels of disadvantage and 25% of pupils require special educational needs support, and yet the school is performing close to the national average in reading, writing and maths. It is part of the Brighton & Hove family of schools which has an excellent track record, and we have complete confidence the school is receiving the support it needs.

I urge you to respect the wishes of parents, staff, and the local community more widely who have repeatedly made clear that we do not want an academy trust to take over our local school.

Now is your opportunity to withdraw from the process without losing face and prevent further strike action. You can say that you’ve listened to parents, staff and the community and respect their wishes. If you were to, we’d thank and respect you for doing so.

Please let our school focus on educating our children without this unnecessary distraction. If you persist, we will have no choice but to continue to campaign against you taking over. We will be forced to 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.

The entire community is united in its desire for Moulsecoomb Primary to stay within the Brighton and Hove family of schools and I urge you to recognise the positive progress made by the school, and respect the wishes of parents, staff, and the local community who have repeatedly stated that we do not want an academy trust to take over our local school. I urge you to withdraw.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Councillor John Allcock
Labour Group spokesperson for children, young people & skills
Brighton & Hove City Council

Cc. Claire Burton – Regional Schools Commissioner

Image: Hands Off Moulsecoomb Primary School

Hands Off Moulsecoomb Primary School
Hands Off Moulsecoomb Primary School
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