A COUNCILLOR has expressed her fury after an academy sponsor was announced for a primary school.

New Horizons Academy Trust (NHAT) will become Moulsecoomb Primary School’s sponsor, despite repeated protests against the privatisation of the institution.

Councillor Kate Knight, vice chairwoman of the council’s children, young people and skills committee and Moulsecoomb ward councillor, said: “I am furious, but not surprised, that the government is ignoring the wishes of the school’s parents, governors and dedicated staff in such a blatant way.

“They have decided to push ahead with their academy plan in the face of overwhelming cross-party local opposition.”

A recent survey conducted by the council showed that 96 per cent of parents and carers taking part opposed Moulsecoomb Primary School in The Highway, Brighton, becoming an academy.

Plans to privatise the school were revealed in June after it was rated “inadequate” by Ofsted.

But the proposal has been widely opposed by parents and teachers.

Last month officials from Step Academy Trust visited the school but were met by angry campaigners at the school gates.

It later pulled out of the biding process saying “we feel that there are other potential sponsors that are better placed to support the staff and children of Moulsecoomb”.

It did not mention the protests.

But, now an academy sponsor has been found for the school, some have been quick to question its suitability.

Cllr Knight said: “NHAT has no track record of positive whole school improvement on this scale – quite the reverse, in fact.

She also said that performance at the school had been improving without the academisation process.

She said: “Staff at the school have been working hard and successfully to improve performance at the school.

“I feel desperately sad for these staff, after all the excellent work they’ve put in to turn the school round. This is a real slap in the face for them.”

“But I know that they absolutely have not given up and that they have the full support of the parents.

“We will be writing to the Regional Schools Commissioner and the Secretary of State for Education to once again call on them to respect the wishes of local people.

“We will be calling on them to stop forcing through changes that are not just unnecessary but also highly disruptive and damaging to pupils at the school.”