BALLOT papers are going out asking parents if they want their children’s school to become an academy.

Plans to change Moulsecoomb Primary in Brighton to an academy were announced in May after the school in The Highway, off Lewes Road, was rated “inadequate” by Ofsted inspectors.

Parents and staff were outraged, organising a petition, public meetings and a protest march.

When pupils started the new term on Thursday, the clock started ticking on the three-week ballot.

The survey is not open to the wider community.

Parents are being asked one simple question: “Do you want the school to become an academy?”

But the ballot could have no impact.

A report about it is due to go before Brighton and Hove City Council’s children, young people and skills committee on Monday.

It says: “This is not a formal part of the ‘academy order’ process and while the outcome of the ballot will be shared with the Office of the Regional Schools Commissioner they are not required to take this into account when determining the future of the school.”

Regional schools commissioner Dominic Herrington was unmoved by the 2,500-signature petition and opposition from all three political parties on the council.

One ballot paper is being issued for each child at the school although officials recognise that, for example, some parents may have different views about whether the school should become an academy.

The report said: “It seems appropriate to allocate one response form to the family of each child registered at the school and require the family to determine how they vote, should the views within the family not be the same.”

Councillor in charge of schools Nick Childs has said the council is “fundamentally opposed” to the move and is calling for the “privatisation process” to be stopped.

He said: “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 and 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.”

The committee is due to meet at Hove Town Hall on Monday at 4pm.