A parents’ group claims members have been denied their freedom of speech after a school suspended its forum.

Bosses at Worthing High School made the decision after the contents of one of the forum’s meetings was leaked to the local press. The school in South Farm Road, Worthing, is in the process of a controversial move to academy status.

Forum chairwoman Debbie Woudman said: “I feel like we’ve been chopped off at the knees. We were asked to form this group because the school wanted people to engage and we have tried every which way to do that.

“It feels like we have hit a brick wall at every turn. They have been extremely unhelpful.”

Fellow forum member Corianda Sweetman added: “The move is being rushed through and we don’t feel as if consultation has taken place, except maybe between the headteacher and school governors.”

The group first met to discuss academy proposals in early May.

After their second meeting details of the discussion was shared with union representatives and then the local press.

Incensed by the “leak” the headteacher, Alison Beer, along with governors, suspended the group with immediate effect.

A forum member, who asked not be named, said: “They have taken away our freedom of speech. We joined the forum with the intention of being positive and doing the best for our children. This is ridiculous.”

Following the suspension, the forum sent a letter to the school to pass on to parents. The forum claims the letter was edited before it was handed out.

The letter describes the group as breaking “an agreement of confidentiality” agreed at the start of the meeting.

The school’s business development manager, Karen Hayler, said: “Unfortunately, some information from the meeting was passed to a union representative.

“This caused unnecessary stress to the staff union representatives and the headteacher and governors were therefore left with little choice but to suspend the forum. Its reinstatement is being discussed at our next full meeting on June 28.”