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Academy executive greeted by protesting Downhills parents
Parents opposed to the conversion of a Tottenham primary school into an academy held a protest this morning.
Ten parents gathered outside the two entrances to Downhills Primary School, in Philip Lane, at 8.50am, as Chris Randall, project director of the Harris Federation, arrived at the gates.
Mr Randall was due to give a presentation to teachers alongside Dr Dan Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, who is also a member of the interim executive board (IEB) at the school.
The IEB, which has five members, was set up following the sacking of the school's board of governors by the Department of Education last month.
The parents lobbied Mr Randall with Save Downhills leaflets and hung large banners from the school gates, each painted with the slogan, "Please walk all over the carpet, not the parents."
The Harris Federation runs 13 academies in south London and is sponsored by Conservative peer Lord Harris, whose Carpetright store was burned down by looters during the riots last August.
Parent Sarah Williams, who is part of the Save Downhills campaign, stood at the school gate until 10.30am and told Mr Randall that he was not welcome at the primary school.
She said: “I don’t think he was surprised to see us, but he wasn’t very comfortable with it and he was walking as fast as he could to get away.”
She said the parents just wanted an opportunity to speak to representatives from the federation.
The school was closed for pupils the whole day, and was initially reserved for teacher training.
Instead, the chief executive answered questions from the teachers and listened to their suggestions about the future of the school.
A statement, released by Les Walton, chairman of the IEB at Downhills Primary School, said: “It is still early days, but we are grateful to staff for their welcome this morning and are looking forward to continuing to engage with them and the entire Downhills community as the consultation continues.”
More than 40 parents and pupils at the school spent the day in Downhills Park creating banners in preparation for their next undisclosed campaign.
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