PARENTS and staff are outraged after a school’s swimming pool was filled in “without consultation”.

Diggers were pictured dumping rocks at the Peacehaven Heights pool in Hoddern Avenue at the end of last week.

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said the decision was made due to the “undue burden on the school’s finances”.

However, the National Education Union (NEU) said £100,000 had been raised by the community to ensure the pool’s future and people had not been consulted on its removal.

The move comes amid fresh fears the school is being “lined up for privatisation”.

A headteacher from an academy trust was recently selected to run the school.

Phil Clarke, from the union, said: “Under the current interim head teacher Peacehaven Heights had been going from strength to strength but instead of working to keep them in post once again we will now see a school in Peacehaven have an academy head installed without any proper process.

“On top of this we understand the community has raised more than £100,000 in the last five years for the school pool and the IEB has decided to fill it in without even consulting local people.”

The school community fought off plans a year ago to hand the school over to the Swale Academy Trust.

Controversy surrounded Peacehaven Heights Primary at the start of the school year when its governing body was replaced with an unelected “interim executive board (IEB)” by East Sussex County Council.

Campaigners feared the sacking of the governors was a precursor to handing to school over to an academy chain.

They say the latest moves “appear to confirm” those fears.

A parent with a number of children at the school stated: “It is very confusing, what is really happening at the school?

“Parents have not had a voice. Parents want a voice, parents want a parents forum which has been promised twice by the IEB, in October 2019 and February 2020, still nothing has happened.”

Chris Collier, Labour Party district councillor for Peacehaven East, said: “It’s mind-numbing that during this current period of national crisis the IEB have chosen to continue to advance a rapid move to academisation at Peacehaven Heights.

“Rather than supporting teachers and other staff at this really challenging time, the county council have decided to once again line up against these key workers.

“To make any move without proper consultation with either parents or the town as a whole is a disgrace, but not a surprise.”

Members of the school community, who fought its privatisation last year, vowed to again campaign for it to remain under the local authority with “an accountable governing body reinstated as soon as possible”.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “Recruitment of high-quality leaders is a national challenge with many experienced teachers choosing not to progress into headship. Unfortunately, after several attempts we were unable to recruit a full-time substantive headteacher to the post.”A new interim headteacher has been appointed to work alongside the outgoing interim leader, drawing leadership from the Local Teaching School Alliance which is run by the STEP Academy trust. Working with teaching schools is a national and local model for building capacity in the school system. No decision has yet been made around the future leadership or governance of Peacehaven Heights.

“Due to the adverse pressure on the school’s budget, the IEB undertook a review and clearly identified that the costs of running and maintaining the swimming pool, including utility and staffing costs was placing an undue burden on the school’s finances. As a result the decision was taken to close the pool and convert the space for use by other less costly activities.”