THE row over plans to turn a primary school into an academy has taken another twist.

A trade union has criticised the education trust which plans to become academy sponsor Moulsecoomb Primary in Brighton.

The ability of New Horizons Academy Trust (NHAT) to sponsor the school has been called into question.

The Lancing-based trust previously sponsored two schools but one, The Laurels in Worthing, changed trusts in January last year after just 16 months with NHAT at the helm.

The National Education Union (NEU) South East Region has claimed this was because the school was “found to be struggling”.

The school had received “good” Ofsted ratings in 2006, 2009 and 2014.

It became an academy in 2016 but was rated “requires improvement” this year.

The NEU claimed that, shortly before the school was transferred, half the teaching staff and the headteacher had announced they were leaving.

After the takeover, new sponsors Durrington Multi Academy Trust made the decision to close the school’s nursery, The Little Laurels Nursery, saying it had “become apparent this nursery provision is not financially sustainable”.

NHAT was announced this week as the new sponsor of Moulsecoomb Primary in The Highway, despite repeated protests against the privatisation of it.

National Education Union Brighton and Hove secretary Paul Shellard said: “Everyone connected to Moulsecoomb Primary School is united in supporting the school as it continues on its journey of school improvement within the local authority. Parents, staff and the council do not want an academy trust with no connection to Brighton and Hove or Moulsecoomb and little experience of running schools, to disrupt this progress.

“No amount of sweet talking by NHAT can conceal the fact that the academy model is flawed and unsustainable.

“If Moulsecoomb Primary joins the trust, less money will be spent on children’s education and more will be spent on chief executive wages and administration.”

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

It later pulled out of the biding process saying “we feel there are other potential sponsors better placed to support the staff and children of Moulsecoomb”. It did not mention the protests.