5:00pm Monday 9th January 2012
By David Hardiman
A HARINGEY politician has called on Tottenham anti-academy campaigners to abandon a judicial review of Government plans.
Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone (Lib Dem) said that “legal battles will only be disruptive to pupils”, as governors at the school decide whether to take Education Secretary Michael Gove to court over his plan to force Downhills Primary School in Philip Lane to become an academy.
The school has been given a deadline of January 20 to commit to the change, or face an interim board of governors being imposed by the Department for Education.
Ms Featherstone said: “I understand that this is a difficult time for school staff and governors, but everyone's top priority must be the children, and securing them the best possible education.
“The council, schools and governors have known and have been consulted since last summer on academies proposals if schools did not improve. Legal battles will only be disruptive to pupils and divert attention from the vital need to turn some schools around.
“Too many Haringey schools are not delivering the quality of education that our children need and deserve. I urge schools, parents, governors and the council to work with the government to turn this trend around, for the children’s futures.”
The comments will come as a blow to campaigners, who have secured the support of former Downhills pupil and Tottenham MP David Lammy (Lab), who is due to speak at a public meeting at the school tonight.
The group argue that Education Secretary Michael Gove should wait until Ofsted inspectors visit the school in two months to see if it is improving before pressing ahead with the plan.
Three other schools – Nightingale Primary School, in Bounds Green Road, Wood Green; Noel Park Primary School, in Gladstone Avenue, Wood Green; and Coleraine Park Primary School, in Glendish Road, Tottenham – have also been warned they could face conversion.
The schools have all been warned they need to improve by Ofsted investigators in the last year.
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