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Downhills Primary School campaigners in Tottenham seek judicial review of academy decision
Parents at a Tottenham school being converted into an academy have filed papers seeking a judicial review at the High Court.
Campaigners at Downhills Primary School in Philip Lane lodged their claim against the Education Secretary Michael Gove yesterday, asking for a judicial review of the decision to force the school to become an academy.
Last month Mr Gove ordered that the school must become an academy led by the Harris Federation in September, despite a six-month campaign by parents and staff against the plan.
Parent Susan Moyse said: “Downhills is a creative, inclusive and popular school which doesn’t tolerate bullying. That’s why we’re taking the Secretary of State to court – he’s abusing his power again – riding roughshod over the wishes of a community.
“£45,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent consulting us and 94 per cent said no to an academy. We believe parents should have a say in how their children are educated.”
The school was placed in special measures by Ofsted in February, leading to the resignation of headteacher Leslie Church and the sacking of the board of governors, to be replaced by a five-member board selected by the Department for Education (DfE), which included two senior members of the Harris Federation.
That board recommended the school be converted into an academy – a recommendation Mr Gove accepted without delay.
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.
Members of the National Union of Teachers and UNISON at the school have held two strikes over the issue.
In a statement, the DfE said: “Downhills had been underperforming for several years.
“Ofsted's report in January found that the school was failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and that those responsible for leading, managing and governing the school were not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement.
“Harris, a not-for profit educational charity, will give the school the leadership and expertise it needs to improve.”