1. ITV Report

Council to fight plans to turn primary into academy

Brighton & Hove City Council says it will fight Government plans to force a primary school to become an academy after it failed a recent inspection.

Moulsecoomb Primary was branded 'inadequate' by Ofsted. However, parents have joined local councillors to say that spending cuts are partly to blame and that the school needs more time to turn things around.

The local authority opposes academies on principle - and says there is no evidence they raise standards. More than one thousand 500 people have signed a petition to revoke the academy order.

The Department for Education said that it issued the order because of the school's 'underperformance'.

“We are striving for a world class education for all children regardless of background, and when we see issues of underperformance we will not hesitate to take swift action. Moulsecoomb primary school was issued an academy order because it was rated inadequate by Ofsted – our priority is, and always should be, the wellbeing, safeguarding and education of pupils.

“We have seen many sponsored academies dramatically improve their Ofsted results following conversion and converter academies are performing well above the national average.”

“It is misleading and wrong to suggest that academies are private companies. Academies are publicly funded schools, run by a not-for-profit charitable trust, commonly sponsored by universities, other schools, faith or voluntary groups.”

– Department for Education spokesperson

Watch Andy Dickenson's report below.

This is what the City Council had to say:

"Our new administration's preferred position is in favour of maintaining all local authority controlled schools.

"We are fundamentally opposed to this attempt by the Regional Schools Commissioner to tell the people of Brighton & Hove that we must hand over our community school to become a private academy company without local accountability.

"The council will be arranging a parental and staff ballot regarding the Academy Order and we will be sharing the results of this ballot with the Commissioner.

"I very much hope that this will be reflected in any final decision made about the school.

"We shall also be writing to the Secretary of State to request that the school be re-inspected in the autumn, and asking for the privatisation process to be halted in the interim.

"In the meantime we have a great head and staff team working at the school, and the comprehensive package of support we have put in place to improve academic standards there will continue."

– Councillor Nick Childs, chair of Brighton & Hove City Council's children, young people and skills committee