May 20 2013 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Monday, July 2, 2012
A Downhills parent has begun legal proceedings against Education Secretary Michael Gove after he ignored “overwhelming opposition” and handed the Tottenham primary school to an academy sponsor.
Susan Moyse is seeking judicial review proceedings against Mr Gove after he signed the funding agreement which will allow the Harris Federation take control of the school from September.
Ms Moyse - who sought a judicial review against Mr Gove in March, but decided not to pursue it further - and the Save Downhills campaign believe they have the support of the community after a consultation revealed 94 per cent of parents, staff and the community did not want the school to leave Haringey’s control and become a sponsored academy.
Downhills parent Andrew Smith said: “I’m angry that despite such strong opposition from the community and industrial action from staff, Michael Gove has decided to give all the assets of the school to his friend Lord Harris.
“The Secretary of State frequently talks about ‘parental choice’ and the ‘Big Society’ but his actions make it clear that those freedoms only exist if people agree with him. He’s grossly abusing the powers he was given through a democratic process and is behaving like a dictator.”
But a DfE spokesman said it was “satisfied” the Interim Executive Board - which carried out the consultation - had done a full and thorough job.
They added: “When making his decision, the Secretary of State also took into account the school’s consistent underperformance and the view of both Ofsted that Downhills had failed to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and that those responsible for leading, managing and governing the school haven’t demonstrated the capacity to secure the improvement necessary.”
Mr Gove has 14 days to respond to the letter of claim sent last week.
- The Save Downhills Campaign has launched an appeal for donations towards legal costs. Individuals and organisations can send cheques made out to ‘Downhills Community for Community Schools’ c/o Anti Academies Alliance, PO Box 14412, Birmingham B11 9DZ or make BACS payments to ‘Downhills Community for Community Schools’, Co-Operative Bank, sort code 08-92-99, account number 65553738.