CAMPAIGNERS battling to stop a high school from becoming an academy have enlisted help from over 200 miles away in Brighton.

A campaign to prevent the academisation of Prestwich Arts College has entered a new partnership with Moulsecoomb Primary School in Sussex.

There, parents have been engaged in their own fight to prevent the school from being taken out of local authority hands.

Prestwich Arts College has been ordered to be turned into an academy after it was rated “Inadequate” by the government's watchdog Ofsted.

Once a private sponsor is found, the state-funded school in Heys Road will be taken out of the local authority's control.

However, opposition to the order has sprung up, led by a 16-year-old autistic boy, Joshua Harcup.

The ex-Prestwich Arts College pupil from Radcliffe has vowed fight the forced academy order “all the way” and says campaigners will do everything in their power to stop it.

He said: “I am delighted to have secured an amazing partnership with the campaign to save Moulsecoomb Primary School in Brighton from turning into an academy.

“I hope this will influence the Governing Body at Prestwich Arts College to take the same steps as Mouslecoomb’s governors have. The whole community of Moulsecoomb have built an incredible campaign that their governors and leaders have been very actively supportive of.

“This partnership will benefit both campaigns. Mouslecoomb are aware of the total undemocratic process that is academisation. We stand together.

“All schools improve better when they are under the control of the local education authority and there is evidence to prove that.”

Opposition has similarly swelled among parents to plans for Mouslecoomb Primary School to join a multi-academy trust as part of an order following an ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted rating.

A ballot was held last week among Moulsecoomb parents with 96 per cent voting against the plans.

Staff at the primary school are also to be balloted for strike action over the proposed academisation.

Mr Harcup is hoping that his own campaign can learn for the Brighton efforts and emulate some of their actions.

Academisation of education centres is overseen by the Regional Schools’ Commissioner

He said: “This partnership with the campaign to fight the forced academisation of Mouslecoomb school offers sufficient hope and we give them our full support.”

“I call on everyone that has been or is still associated to Prestwich Arts College in any sort of way to come join us, and fight the Forced Academy Order and keep the school in the community where it belongs,” he added.

The Regional Schools Commissioner is responsible for overseeing the academisation process. The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.