AN ACADEMY trust has pulled out of the selection process to take over a school after it was greeted with parent protests.

Officials from Step Academy Trust had visited Moulsecoomb Primary School last week, facing angry campaigners at the school gates.

But this week the trust sent Brighton and Hove City Council a letter claiming it would withdraw from the selection process to take over the school.

In a statement, the trust said: “After due consideration, we feel that there are other potential sponsors that are better placed to support the staff and children of Moulsecoomb.

“We have therefore notified the Regional Schools Commissioner that Step is withdrawing from the process of identifying an academy partner.”

The statement did not mention the parent protests.

But National Education Union regional officer Craig Arden said it was clear the trust was “not happy” about the frosty welcome.

Tensions have surrounded the school since June when the Government placed an academy order on the school after it was rated “inadequate” by Ofsted.

Brighton and Hove City Council has come out against the order, while unions and parents have threatened action.

Moulsecoomb councillor Dan Yates said on Twitter the best way to improve the school was for it to remain under city council control.

Brighton and Hove NEU secretary Paul Shellard said there was no justification for the academy plans.

He said: “Since the Ofsted inspection in April, Moulsecoomb Primary School has demonstrated swift improvements.

“Staff and parents know what is best for their children and do not believe that the school is inadequate.

“After almost a decade, there is no evidence that shows that forcing schools to become academies improves results.

“On the contrary, evidence shows that struggling schools improve faster if they remain in the local authority.”

The union has called on Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to revoke the academy order.

But the Government has remained adamant the academy process will continue for the school.

Next Wednesday campaigners will travel to London to deliver more than 1,000 postcards to Mr Williamson at the Department for Education.