CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after six schools shelved plans to switch to academy status.

The six were talking to Priory secondary school in Lewes about the possibility of joining together in a

multi-academy trust (Mat).

Priory head Tony Smith said much research had been done on the project but no agreement had yet been reached.

In the past few weeks, Western Road and Southover pulled out from the plans.

Now Priory, South Malling Primary, Wallands Community Primary, and Iford and Kingston Primary have also withdrawn.

The headteachers from the remaining schools said in a letter: “We have listened to the range of opinion from parents and from staff.

“So, effective immediately, we will dissolve the current Lewes Mat working group and refocus to consider all partnership options.”

Parents and teachers formed the Save Lewes Schools and worked with the National Education Union to campaign against what they claim to be privatisation.

They celebrated their victory outside Wallands Community Primary School.

Chloe King, whose daughter is a pupil there, said: “I am so proud of all our Lewes schools for listening to campaigners and responding to parents’ concerns by promising to be more collaborative and open. This is a huge concession to make and a real credit to the schools involved.

“I love Wallands and I want it to stay within the local authority as the community school I know and love.”

Holly Atkins, whose son attends Western Road School, said: “This is brilliant news.

“Everyone at Save Lewes Schools has worked so hard to get to this point and deserves to celebrate.

“But it’s not the end of the story. East Sussex County Council needs to make clear it is not pushing schools into Mats or federations.

“And we need to lobby central Government for proper funding.

“Now though, we hope we can unite together and push for fairer funding.

“Parents, school leaders, teachers and governors are better when we work together.”

Phil Clarke, National Education Union secretary for Lewes, Eastbourne and Wealden, said: “Teachers and staff will breathe a sigh of relief that the immediate prospect of privatisation has been lifted.

“We very much hope to engage with the discussions school leaders wish to have about how schools can collaborate for mutual benefit but this should be on the basis of keeping schools in the East Sussex family and under democratic local oversight.”

Campaigners are now working on finding solutions to funding cuts to schools.