Socialist Worker

Downhills campaign forces government climbdown

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2286

A mass campaign has forced education secretary Michael Gove to retreat on plans to force a primary school to become a privatised academy.

Gove wanted to force academy status on Downhills primary school in Haringey, north London. The Department for Education had instructed governors there to agree to become an academy this month—or face being removed.

After a campaign that mobilised hundreds of parents and teachers, Gove has withdrawn the timetable for the forced academy.

Instead Ofsted, the hated schools inspectorate, will inspect the school. Governors had demanded that Gove allow a planned Ofsted inspection to go ahead, rather than imposing academy status.

The Department for Education said, “Given the importance placed on a further Ofsted inspection by the governors at Downhills, the secretary of state has asked Ofsted to undertake an inspection.”

This is an embarrassing climbdown for the government and it shows what grassroots campaigning can achieve. But it is not the end of the battle.

Gove is still intent on imposing forced academies on three other schools in the borough. And he will still try to privatise Downhills in the future—and try and use Ofsted’s verdict to do it.

Activists plan to march in Haringey on Saturday 28 January against forced academies.

Phil Brett, an NUT union rep at Downhills told Socialist Worker, “Despite the insults that Gove has hurled at parents and teaching staff, the impressive campaign has shown that people do not want a privatised education system in this country.

“They want community schools run by the community and for the community. We have him rattled and we have to make the march as big as we can.”

Demonstrate against academies in Haringey—Saturday 28 January, 12 noon. Rally at West Green Common, Haringey, to march to threatened schools. Go to for more information.

For full background story on this campaign read

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Wed 18 Jan 2012, 13:29 GMT
Issue No. 2286
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