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Education Secretary Michael Gove claims Downhills anti-academy campaigners 'happy with failure'
EDUCATION Secretary Michael Gove has launched a scathing attack on anti-academy campaigners in Haringey in a speech this afternoon.
Mr Gove labelled parents and teachers who want to stop the Government forcing at least four primary schools into academies against their will “ideologues happy with failure”.
Downhills Primary School in Philip Lane has been given a deadline of mid-January to commit to the change or face an interim board of governors being imposed by the Department for Education . The current governors are considering a judicial review.
Three other schools – Nightingale Primary School, Noel Park Primary School and Coleraine Park Primary School – have also been warned they could face conversion.
In a speech at Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College, an academy in south-east London, Mr Gove said: “My message to those in Haringey and to others is – stop saying ‘hands off’. Stop saying that the arrival of the expertise that can help your schools is a threat.
“I have been asked not to challenge the leadership of the lowest performing schools in Haringey. But for years, hundreds of children have grown up effectively illiterate and innumerate.
“In one of the most disadvantaged parts of our capital city poor children have been deprived of the skills they need to succeed.
“Change is coming. And to those who want to get in the way, I have just two words – hands off.”
Ofsted investigators gave staff at Downhills a year to improve standards in March after finding that the school had major failings, while Noel Park was recommended to be put into special measures last week after a report found it was “failing”.
The two other schools have been handed a 'notice to improve' by the regulator after inspections in the last year.
But a progress report in September showed that "significant improvements" had been made at Downhills and that Ofsted was satisfied that the staff were taking steps to improve teaching.
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.