TEACHERS and pupils at a primary school are set to return to the classroom for the first time since their school became an academy.

Moulsecoomb Primary School in The Highway, Brighton, joins ten other primaries as part of the Pioneer Academy Trust.

The school was given the lowest possible rating by the education watchdog after a visit in April 2019.

The damning report started a process which saw the government intervening to force the school, which is off Lewes Road, to become an academy.

Labour and Green councillors reacted with anger to the news, which was also opposed by the unions, teachers and parents.

However, Lee Mason Ellis, director of the Pioneer Academy, said the trust was determined to provide children at the school with an “enjoyable and successful education”.

He said: “Everyone at the Pioneer Academy is delighted to welcome Moulsecoomb to our family of schools.

“We want every child that attends one of our schools to have an enjoyable and successful education.

“We are entirely focused on providing high-quality teaching that delivers not only strong progress for every pupil but well-rounded children who are secondary school ready.”

Headteacher Adam Sutton said he was looking forward to working with the Pioneer Academy to implement “exciting plans” for the school.

He said: “I know that the trust shares my ambition to provide all our pupils with a top-class education in a safe, caring and stimulating environment.”

Campaigners from Hands Off Moulsecoomb Primary School staged several protests outside the school and travelled to the Pioneer Academy headquarters in Kent to show their opposition to the plans.

Councillor Hannah Clare, chairwoman of Brighton and Hove City Council's children, young people and skills committee, said campaigners should be proud of their commitment.

She said: “It is an incredibly sad day for the city to see our valued community school handed over to an academy trust, against the will of our community.

“While the government have written to the council to express their delight that this has taken place, they have misread an entire community which told them an academy wasn’t needed here and wanted to keep the school under local authority control.

“Now we will move onwards in working as a council with the Pioneer Academy Trust to ensure that the best education for our children is provided and continue to provide constructive challenge to the school.”

Brighton and Hove City Council said it will continue to work with the academy trust in a “constructive way”.

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