May 20 2013 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The board of governors at Nightingale Primary School has become the first in the UK to be forcibly removed to make way for Michael Gove’s controversial academy plans.
Education Secretary Mr Gove let the board members know by email at 10.23am on Tuesday they were no longer required – little more than a week after the board wrote to reject his suggestion that the Bounds Green school become an academy.
The governors – a group of local volunteers – felt they had not had enough time to consult with parents, staff and the community and argued that a consultation after the decision had already been made was not good enough.
Former chairman Neil McAllistair said: “We were disappointed and angered. Mr Gove did not respond to our request for more time.
“I hope the interim executive board does take the time to consult and listen to the community.”
The fact they have now been removed gives Nightingale the dubious honour of being the first primary school in the country to have its board removed by the Department for Education (DfE) under its academy programme.
The new Education Secretary- approved interim executive includes Deborah Absalom, the former head of children’s servies at Conservative-run Bexley Council, and Nick Ratcliffe, a senior manager in the education advisory practice at KPMG. It will now “consult on whether the school should convert into a sponsored academy”, according to the DfE.
The DfE spokesman added academy status was considered “the best way” to improve underperforming schools. Nightingale had been given notice to improve late last year.
The move has provoked outrage and disbelief in the community.
Haringey NUT secretary Julie Davies said: “This is the first school in the country where this has ever happened.
“Its track record is above national averages, even though it serves a deprived community. The local MP has been insulted and so have the parents, children and teachers. Michael Gove needs to explain himself to us all.”
Lynne Featherstone said she had been in touch with the DfE to “make clear” there should be representatives from the local community on the new temporary governing body, and that any new school management is strictly not for profit.
Downhills, in Philip Lane, is now the last school of the four earmarked to become academies still awaiting to hear its fate.