HUNDREDS of protesters marched against plans to force a school to become an academy on today.

Parents, teachers, children and union representatives banged drums and blew whistles as they fought to stop Moulsecoomb Primary in Brighton being taken out of council control.

The Argus:

The school was rated “inadequate” by Ofsted inspectors in May, and now the Department for Education is forcing it to become an academy in an attempt to drive up standards.

But there is fierce opposition to the move, including from Brighton and Hove City Council.

Campaigners marched from the school in Lewes Road to The Level, carrying banners with slogans such as “Hands off our school” and “Ofsted you’re wrong”.

The Argus:

City council leader Nancy Platts is now calling for a ballot to allow parents to decide the school’s future.

She said: “I’m here to support the community in opposing this totally undemocratic decision.

“We have made it clear this decision should be made by a parental ballot.

“It’s the parents who should have the final say.”

Passing cars beeped horns in support and nearby builders gave a thumbs up as the group of about 200 walked along the road at 10am.

Parents Hannah and Jo Spooner, pictured inset, were among the marchers.

Hannah, 30, said the Ofsted report was “gutting”.

She said: “This is close to our hearts.

“I think with some improvement they could do really well, they just haven’t given them a chance yet. They need to be given more time.”

The Argus:

The march reached The Level at about 12pm.

Speeches were given from parents, governors, councillors, staff and others, followed by a family picnic.

Year-5 teacher Emily Griffith said: “The school should be governed and influenced by people in the community.

“The teachers, the parents, the kids – the people who go there and are affected by it – should have most of the say.

“We don’t think forced academisation is good for democracy.”

The Argus:

It is understood the school is expecting a marked improvement in its SATs grades when this year’s results are released.

Momentum campaigner Johnbosco Nwogbo said: “Schools are not supposed to be profit-driven enterprises, they’re supposed to be society’s way of educating the young, that’s why we oppose it.”