A BALLOT on whether or not Moulsecoomb Primary School should become an academy is now open – but parents have been warned it is non-binding.

Parents can request one voting slip per child, which means some families will have more than one vote.

Members of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee have asked for the results of the ballot and details of future academy orders to come to their next meeting.

Plans to change the school in The Highway, off Lewes Road, into an academy were announced in May after it was rated as “inadequate” by Ofsted.

Academies are not under the control of the local authority, but are run by privately owned trusts and receive their money directly from the Government.

Executive director for families, children and learning Pinaki Ghoshal told the committee the council does not know which trust, or sponsor, will be taking over the school.

However, he said a sponsor may be appointed in October, and the academy conversion process will begin, taking approximately nine months.

Conservative councillor Dee Simson asked if parents were aware the ballot was not binding.

She said: “Are the consultees aware it is the Secretary of State who will make the decision and what comes out is only indicative.

“I feel as long as it is clear in the consultation document that the final result is not dependent on what they say, they will know where is someone there who will make the final decision.”

Councillor Simson was assured parents were told it was a non-binding vote.

The outcome of the ballot will be shared with the Office of the Regional Schools Commissioner who is not required to take this into account when determining the future of the school.

Councillors were told in the past academy orders have been overturned.

Parents and members of the community have run a campaign – Hands Off Moulsecoomb Primary School – opposing a takeover by a “multi-academy trust”.

However regional schools commissioner Dominic Herrington has so far been unmoved by the 2,500-signature petition and opposition from all three political parties on the council. The ballot closes on Friday October 4 with a count to take place in Hove Town Hall.