Campaigners are calling for Ofsted to return to Moulsecoomb Primary School to see for themselves the improvements that will show that is a good school.
Since April parents and staff have been campaigning relentlessly to stop the school from being forced by the Government to join a multi-academy trust, which they say is completely unnecessary.
So far three academy trusts that have been considered as the potential sponsor have withdrawn from the process.
In July, University of Brighton Academies Trust declined to be the sponsor after being selected by the Regional Schools Commissioner. STEP Academy Trust then withdrew in October following parent protests at the school gates. To the delight of campaigners, just a week before Christmas, the third sponsor New Horizons Academy Trust (NHAT) withdrew from the process.
Now campaigners are hopeful that Ofsted will return and see that the school has improved, leading to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson MP, revoking the academy order.
Following the news that NHAT had withdrawn from the process, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP wrote to the Gavin Williamsom on 23rd December, calling for the “academisation order to be rescinded”, or should that not be possible for “Ofsted to conduct another rating”.
Speaking about the campaign, Lloyd Russell-Moyle said:
“Everybody who is involved with Moulsecoomb Primary School knows that it is a good school and that the previous Ofsted judgement was a poor reflection of the incredible work the school does in its community.
“This Government talks about academy schools in terms of parental choice. Moulsecoomb parents have made their choice and 96% voted against the school becoming an academy when the council balloted them last term.
“The Secretary of State should listen to those parents and respect their wishes. He should put a halt on finding another academy sponsor to take over until Ofsted has returned and seen the progress that is being made.”
On Thursday 19th December, a motion was passed by Brighton & Hove City Council, with cross-party support to call on Ofsted to return.
Councillor Kate Knight who moved the motion said:
“For too long now Moulsecoomb Primary has been working under the cloud of uncertainty about its future, with one sponsor after another walking away.
“The Local Authority, in contrast, remains committed to supporting the school, the staff and the children, drawing on the wealth of experience, talent, skill and goodwill that exists within our family of schools.
“As an administration, with unequivocal cross-party support, we would also urge the Secretary of State to delay making a decision on yet another sponsor, without first considering the evidence of progress that we believe a further visit from Ofsted will provide.”
Staff at Moulsecoomb Primary School are confident that the school is delivering a good quality education and believe that Ofsted will see this when they return. The school is now due a monitoring inspection any day according to the Ofsted Inspection Framework.
Jools Voce, Teaching Assistant, said:
“We believe our school is a good school and has always been a good school. Let us prove it before permanently forcing us into a multi-academy trust against the wishes of the community.”
Marina Heath, Learning Mentor added:
“Our school strives to help the children in our diverse community reach their full potential by supporting the whole child. We also go the extra mile to support our children with special educational needs.”
Campaigners have been consistently highlighted the excellent level of support the school provides to children with special educational needs as the school has double the national average of pupils with additional needs.
Parent campaigner, Natasha Ide, said of the school:
“We have amazing staff that work very hard to care for all the children at Moulsecoomb Primary School, especially SEND children. They go above and beyond every day nurturing our children.
“Moulsecoomb Primary School provides an inclusive and varied education for all of our children. We have an amazing library, our very own chickens that the children learn to care for, allotments where we grow our own crops and we also cater for other school that come and use our amazing grounds.
“We love our school and we know that Ofsted will see everything that is so great about it when they return.”