Breaking news: Downhills primary school to become an academy

18:38 20 June 2012

Downhills Primary School will become an academy this September. Pic: Tony Gay.

Downhills Primary School will become an academy this September. Pic: Tony Gay.


Downhills Primary School will be forced to become an academy - despite just three per cent of parents being in favour of the move in a consultation.

The Department for Education today confirmed the Tottenham school will reopen in September as an academy under the Harris Federation - which runs a string of schools in south London and, from the next academic year, Coleraine Park in Glendish Road, Tottenham.

This is in spite of a fierce battle from the Save Downhills group, who are desperate to keep the school under local authority control, and a consultation which revealed 94 per cent - or 219 of the 234 respondants - were against becoming an academy.

A second survey of 100 parents, carried out by Populus at the gates of the Philip Lane primary school, found 80 per cent wanted the school to remain under the Haringey’s control.

Just 25 per cent, when given an option of sponsors if the school had to become an academy, selected Harris.

Yet Education Secretary Michael Gove stood by his plans to hand the school over to Harris, citing the latest Ofsted report and a report of the Interim Executive Board (IEB).

The IEB, including two Harris Federation staff members and four others, was parachuted in after Mr Gove sacked the governing body earlier this year.

A DfE spokesman said: “The IEB’s report states that radical structural solutions are needed to deliver and sustain rapid improvement at the school and it is confident that the Harris Federation will be able to deliver such solutions.

“The Secretary of State has therefore decided that to deliver the improvement needed, the school should be converted to a sponsored academy under the leadership of the Harris Federation. The new academy will open in September.

“Harris, a not-for profit educational charity, will give the school the leadership and expertise it needs to improve. Harris has turned around a number of previously failing schools in London, nine of which have now been judged as outstanding.”

Haringey NUT secretary Julie Davies has reacted angrily to the news - which came just one day after pupils, teachers and parents protested outside the DfE headquarters in central London.

She said: “The Secretary of State is clearly abusing his power. He is using the school for political purposes. This just proves that Mr Gove is both and ideologue and an enemy of promise - the promise shown by Haringey and its track record in running 62 primary school, not one.”

But Harris Federation chief executive and IEB member Dr Dan Moynihan was “delighted”. He said: “We have agreed to be sponsor because we firmly believe we have the track record and experience to transform the quality of education on offer at the school and to support the staff and pupils.

“Our first priority, in every school we operate, is to make sure that children receive their right to an excellent education. In sponsoring Downhills as an academy, we will be building on everything that is already good about the school in order to accelerate its path out of Special Measures and into Good and then Outstanding Ofsted status.”

The Save Downhills campaign group have yet to comment on the news.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest London politics news

Monday, October 5, 2015
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his first keynote speech on day three of the Labour Party annual conference. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn is due to speak at a protest against postal cuts in Manchester today, as his rival party meets in the city for its conference.

Friday, October 2, 2015
Zac Goldsmith will face Sadiq Khan in the battle for London in May 2016 (Picture: PA Images)

Environmentalist Richmond Park MP and Tory girls’ dreamboy Zac Goldsmith has been picked as the Conservative Party’s candidate for London Mayor, winning the contest with 70% of the vote. Here London24 brings you some of the funniest Twitter reactions to his selection.

Monday, September 28, 2015
View from Commercial Street of how Bishopsgate goodsyard development will look

A battle for the heart of east London has now switched to City Hall in a manoeuvre to get Boris Johnson to push through the controversial Bishopsgate goodsyard development before he steps down as Mayor of London next May.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Ed Palmer, 28, is part of a group trying to spread the message on social media that many 'junior doctors' are adults a way into their career (Picture: Whittington Whatsapp Group)

We spoke to some of London’s junior doctors - essentially any medic who isn’t a consultant - to find out how people are reacting inside the NHS to the government’s plan to make doctors ‘work longer hours for less money’.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Jeremy's speech style has been both praised and vilified in recent weeks (Picture: PA Images)

It’s showtime. Jezza vs Dave commenced their first Westminster mouth-off (also known as Prime Minister’s Questions) at midday today and we are bringing you Twitter’s funniest and most enlightening reactions to the much-anticipated spectacle.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Hundreds of taxi drivers descended on City Hall for a protest today (Picture: Quotax Insurance)

Today’s Mayor’s Question Time was shut down after Boris Johnson insulted protesting taxi drivers by calling them Luddites and storming out , before cabbies tried to force their way into City Hall.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Line-Up Events


You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Read more
Shop till you drop!

Here’s your chance to treat yourself to a new wardrobe and a whole lot more with this MyOffers competition to win an incredible £2,500 to spend at Primark on whatever you like!

Read more

Latest Tech News