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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Aerial view of proposed Rotherhithe Bridge [image: reForm Architects]

Plans to build a new bridge across the Thames between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe on either side have reached completion in a new feasibility study.

The proposed ‘Rotherhithe Bridge’ would have the longest bascule span in the world, at 600ft (184m), for use by pedestrians and cyclists.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Junior doctors held a massive protest in London last month over the contracts and now plan to strike for three days in December (Picture: Naomi Ackerman/ London24)

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today agreed to negotiate the junior doctor contract with the British Medical Association (BMA) in talks held by conciliatory service Acas, but the BMA say his consenting so late is ‘political game playing’.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Holloway Prison. Picture: Rebecca Naden/PA

Holloway Prison is to close, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015
A Londoner hoping for a fun family day at Winter Wonderland was charged £3,731 for parking (Picture: Manish Wadhwani/ NCP)

A great £5 parking deal in Portland Square turned into a nightmare for one family when the dad was charged £3,731 instead, maxing out his credit card and leaving him to borrow money from his sister.

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Squatters at West End Lane

Squatters occupying the council’s former offices in West Hampstead say they are willing to discuss handing back the keys - but would like use of the building to provide Christmas dinner for homeless and elderly people.

Thursday, November 19, 2015
A commuter gives Boris a rude gesture (John Stillwell/PA Wire)

Londoners hurled abuse at Boris Johnson as he opened the city’s first segregated cycle superhighway.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...


Tesco - Every little helps

Would you like to have the opportunity to win a huge £2,500 to spend at Tesco? Well with this amazing prize you can do exactly that! MyOffers are giving you the chance to get your hands on £2,500 to spend on anything you desire may it be free weekly groceries for the foreseeable future, a new TV, home decoration or even a new sofa!

Read more
You could get your hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge!

Here’s your chance to win one of the most feature-packed smartphones on the planet, from tech giants Samsung, The Samsung S6 Edge!

Read more

Latest Tech News