March 16 2014 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Monday, May 28, 2012
Children and parents took over a Tottenham carpet store to let its chairman know they don’t want him to take over their school.
Save Downhills campaigners gathered together for a ‘carpet time’ session at Carpetright, in Tottenham Hale Retail Park, on Saturday to listen to the story of the Magic Carpet Seller, who came to realise children cannot be mass-produced like his carpets.
Around 50 children and parents listened to the tale - a veiled reference to the flooring chain’s owner Lord Harris, whose Harris Federation is Education Secretary Michael Gove’s preferred sponsor for the Philip Lane school.
Campaigners ended their protest - their second in less than a week - by handing out information to Saturday shoppers to highlight their fight against being forced to accept academy status.
They want Mr Gove - who forcibly removed the primary school’s board of governors earlier this year to make way for an interim executive board which includes two members from the Harris Federation - to abandon plans to convert the primary school into an academy, which would see it moved out of Haringey Council’s control and into the control of a sponsor.
Parent Candace Martin - who has two children at the school - said: “We thought that if Lord Harris is trying to take over our school, we should take over one of his shops for a short while.
“The story was great, and made it clear that selling carpets and educating children don’t mix.”
But a spokesman for the Harris Federation said it does have the children’s best interests at heart.
She said: “The Harris Federation was invited by the Department for Education to be preferred sponsor of Downhills after it failed its Ofsted inspection - this was a request we took up because we believe we can transform the education that the children at Downhills now and in the future will get.”