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Labour councillors back Downhills Primary School anti-academy campaigners
LABOUR councillors have backed campaigners trying to stop the Government from turning a Tottenham primary school into an academy against its will.
29 councillors from Haringey Council’s Labour group backed a motion on Thursday night to support the Save Downhills Campaign – a group of governors and parents opposed to the Department of Education’s plan to convert Downhills Primary School in Philip Lane into an academy.
The school has been set a deadline of mid-January by the Department for Education to commit to becoming an academy or face an interim board of governors being imposed, and the current board are considering a judicial review.
The Haringey Independent understands three other schools – Nightingale Primary School, Noel Park Primary School and Coleraine Park Primary School – have also been warned they could face conversion.
A motion by Bruce Grove ward councillor Stuart McNamara to work with the schools in their opposition to the plan and to ask the Government to carry out “thorough consultation” before changing anything was backed by fellow councillors.
Cllr McNamara will also set up a working group to work out a plan before Christmas.
Academies are independent, state-funded schools, which receive their funding directly from central government, rather than through local councils.
They have more freedom than other state schools over their finances, curriculum, length of terms and school days and do not need to follow national pay and conditions for teachers.
Academies were originally a Labour policy designed to improve struggling schools, primarily in deprived areas, but the policy has been expanded by the coalition Government.