Downhills School seeks judicial review of academy status

Downhill primary Downhills Primary will become an academy in September

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Campaigners have sought a judicial review over the Department for Education's decision to convert a north London primary school into an academy.

Parents of pupils of Downhills Primary School in Tottenham lodged the papers in the High Court following the decision to convert it by September.

The group accused Education Secretary Michael Gove of "bullying" and "riding roughshod" over the wishes of parents.

The school was "underperforming for several years", the DfE said.

The primary in the borough of Haringey was placed in special measures in February following an Ofsted report.

Since the inspection the head teacher of the school, Leslie Church, has resigned and the board of governors was dismissed and replaced by Mr Gove.

What are academy schools?

Semi-independent state schools that receive funding directly, rather than through a local authority.

They have more freedom over areas such as pay and conditions and the curriculum.

In June the DfE said the school would become a sponsored academy in September and will be run by the Harris Federation, an educational charity.

'Abusing his power'

Campaigners from Save Downhills said the school was improving and therefore it made "no sense" to hand it over to the charity which is run by Lord Phil Harris.

Parent and campaigner Susan Moyse said: "Downhills is a creative, inclusive and popular school which doesn't tolerate bullying, that's why we're taking the Secretary of State to court - he's abusing his power again, riding roughshod over the wishes of a community.

A spokesperson from the DfE said: "Downhills had been underperforming for several years.

"Ofsted's report in January found that the school was failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and that those responsible for leading, managing and governing the school were not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement.

"Harris, a not-for profit educational charity, will give the school the leadership and expertise it needs to improve."

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