December 5 2013 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Thursday, January 12, 2012
A primary school in South Tottenham is launching a last-ditch High Court battle to stop the government forcing it to become an academy next month.
The Department for Education (DfE) has given Downhills school, in Philip Lane, until February 3 to agree to become an academy and find a sponsor to run it.
If the school refuses, Education Secretary Michael Gove has threatened to take the unprecendented step of sacking all the governors and forcing the school into academy conversion.
Around 600 people attended a meeting organised by the Save Downhills campaign group, made up of parents, teachers, governors and supporters, in the school hall on Monday night.
The group have sent a pre-action letter to the DfE outlining their plans to launch a judicial review into the matter, accusing Mr Gove of behaving unlawfully.
They will also be attending a parliamentary debate on forced academies this evening, where Tottenham MP David Lammy, a speaker at Monday nights meeting, will raise the issue of Downhills. Fiona Millar, co-founder of the Local Schools Network, praised the campaign during her speech at the meeting, telling them they had rattled the government with their action.
Downhills headteacher Leslie Church said the campaign are prepared to go as far as it will take.
Earlier this week, Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone criticised the campaigns judicial review as disruptive to pupils, sparking an angered response from campaigners.