Saturday 11 February 2012

Save Downhills School campaign statement

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On Friday Ofsted announced that they had placed Downhill School in special measures. Michael Gove has identified 200 schools, of which he says Downhills is one, that he says are ‘underperforming’ and should be turned into academies.

The Save Downhills School group have run a determined campaign to save their school and prevent it becoming an academy.

They have released the following statement:

“We are shocked to find that our school has been judged so harshly by Ofsted.  It is clear from the parents’ responses to the Ofsted questionnaire that those who know the school have a very different and more positive view of Downhills School.
“We care about our school and want the very best education for our children.  There is no evidence that forcing schools to become academies improves standards.  The government wants to take schools away from elected local authorities and hand them over to academy chains – including for profit companies – who have no experience of running primary schools.  This is not about school improvement; this is a politically driven attack on our school.”
On a positive note, our year 3 children have won a national photo competition and their work will be displayed in the National Gallery from 9 May to 15 September ’12.
Also, our campaign very much continues – we do not believe that forced academy status is a solution to our current situation.  We wish to continue our school improvement within the local family of schools.  So we very much still say – NO to forced academies.”
Rush messages of support to savedownhills@hotmail.co.uk
News items
School Head resigns amid row with Michael Gove
Tears as pupils say goodbye to school head
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16 comments

  1. Jonathan Boniface said:

    It’s sad that such action needs to be taken against bullies in our own government.

    11 February 2012 at 10:18am
  2. Hazel Damson said:

    The Secretary of State is inadequate with no redeeming features. This is an aggressive and dangerous attack on primary education. Forcing a school to become an academy and be scooped up by a private chain with no capacity, experience or magic fairy dust to sprinkle, will do nothing to support the school community at Downhills. We know you are all doing a fantastic job for the children at your school. Teachers, not politicians, are the ones who spend their working lives making real differences to young peoples lives and futures.
    Hazel Danson
    NUT Executive West Yorkshire

    11 February 2012 at 10:34am
  3. mr chas said:

    This school needs someone like Patricia Sowter.
    One the best examples of excellence around , because it is an Academy….
    I cross my fingers…

    11 February 2012 at 11:42am
  4. Nick Heard said:

    Very best wishes of support to staff and parents at Downhills. Chronic Mypoia, wanton recklessness, blind obedience, complicity and self-interest seem to be the definining characters of those in power and that’s a very hard thing to fight indeed. Don’t lose heart. Stay creative and stick together. You’re not alone.

    11 February 2012 at 3:41pm
  5. Rodger said:

    This is a the latest OFTED report on OASIS Academy Shirley Park , Croydon. You would think that given the continued KS2 performance and start given to children at KS1, that it would have been placed in special measures.

    http://www.oasisacademyshirleypark.org/servlet/file/store1/item40715/version1/Ofsted%20Section%208%20Final%20Report%20March%202011.pdf

    11 February 2012 at 4:31pm
  6. Janet said:

    Michael Gove stopped talking about ‘200 schools’ some time last summer – he’s been openly talking about ‘100’s’ for months. There weren’t any Haringey schools on his original list of 200 schools.

    11 February 2012 at 9:00pm
  7. anonymous said:

    .
    Special measures in 2002/03/04/05,and 2010/11/12,but no one talk about that,some people with interest and the promise of a future position as teacher or suply teacher are still fighting in this school ( downhills ),but the reality is that many parent are disagreed with this anti-academie coalition and they gave they own opinion in the ofsted questionnaire,and I’m not supprise by the result(special measures).
    they continious talking in the name of all parent but we are not agreed with the anti-academie coalition,they say Mickael goves force them to became academie and it’s not good but in the meantime they do the same thing by forcing parents to be anti-academie by chasing them inside the school.
    parent evening with anti-academie stand
    winter festival no christmas tree but anti-academie stand
    I’m fed-up with this energy lost in this battle when the childrens of this school are regressing and are not getting the support expected.
    Stop disturbing this childrens and stop making too much,you are incompetent and try to found many excuses for your worthless.
    I don’t know if academie will be great or not,but one thing is sure,
    any other governing body and teachers will do much better than this actual one

    11 February 2012 at 9:23pm
  8. Alasdair said:

    It is a shame that the previous post is anonymous. Whoever it is clearly has some insider knowledge, albeit selective and inaccurate. I am curious at about the spelling and grammar errors too! It seems odd to spend so much time and effort researching a subject but then no care whatsoever to spell or punctuate correctly so that the argument can be understood. Is it possible that that these errors have been carefully constructed?

    But let’s put that aside and deal with the real issues. Every child deserves a good local school. Everyone wants that for Downhills. The school is in Special Measures. How does it improve? The Secretary of State claims forced academy conversion is the only way to do this. Parents, governors, staff and the local community are not convinced. Indeed some believe that Mr Gove has a different agenda. Like Mr Lansley with the NHS, Mr Gove wants to privatise education for his friends in big business. But whatever you believe, there is no evidence that conversion to academy status will create a good school. Even Sir Michael Wilshaw, heads of OFSTED admits academies also fail!

    I believe we need an informed debate and proper consultation on the future for Downhills. Parents, staff and children have the right to be heard not pilloried. Insults, anonymous or otherwise, don’t help. If national politicians won’t listen and continue arrogantly to proclaim they know best then they can expect resistance, just like over the NHS.

    12 February 2012 at 12:27pm
  9. Cornelius@Ofstedwatch said:

    The January 2011 Ofsted full (Section 5) inspection of Downhills identified ‘serious weaknesses’ in teaching and learning and it was given ‘notice to improve.’

    The subsequent September 2011 Ofsted (Section 8)’monitoring visit’ to ascertain whether standards had improved, reported that progress being made at the school was ‘satisfactory’.

    Now in January 2012 a further ‘Section 5’ inspection that did not need to take place before July 2012 has placed the school into ‘special measures’. In view of the vociferous campaign Downhills School mounted to prevent enforced academy conversion it makes you wonder whether Ofsted’s inspections judgements are often politically motivated.

    A similar process occurred at Coleraine Park Primary, also in Haringay. It’s ‘section 8’ inspection was ‘satisfactory’, but standards of teaching and learning were judged not up to scratch in the subsequent ‘section 5’ inspection and the school was placed into ‘special measures’, paving the way for forced academy conversion.

    PS It took Ofsted 6 weeks to publish the full Coleraine Park ‘section 5’ inspection report. How long will it take to publish Downhills inspection report? why does it take so long?

    13 February 2012 at 8:01am
  10. Lawrence Wong said:

    The standards judgement when applied to individual teachers or to individual schools appears to have absolute authority. Intellectually, how can we reject OFSTED judgements? Parents and campaigners have been forced to the terrain of “we can better improve as a Local Authority school” when the campaign itself demonstrates high ‘standards’, albeit standards of a different kind that is not measured by OFSTED.

    13 February 2012 at 8:08am
  11. Cornelius@Ofstedwatch said:

    Where are all the educational academics from Oxford, Cambridge and London in all this? Are they content to sit back and watch the academisation of our schools? Why aren’t they getting more involved? All they do is write into the Guardian occasionally to express their concerns. They need to do much more and become far more involved in the campaign. (Or are they worried that funding for their ivory towers will be withdrawn if they show any dissent?) Their silence is DEAFENING!

    14 February 2012 at 8:54am
  12. Janet said:

    I guess the reality is that most of their children don’t go to schools threatened with sponsored academy status.

    14 February 2012 at 9:10am
  13. Alan said:

    Unfortunately all of this is either one of two things –

    1. A very intelligent strategy from the tory led government to dismantle the NHS/State Schools and all the other publically funded institutions that they can so that their business contacts/friends can drain whatever money is left from the current broken system just in time for the eventual end game scenario (most probably a big world war or massive financial collapse followed by social breakdown)

    OR

    2. A muddled free market ideology being implemented by a large number of not particullary bright (but somehow Oxbridge educated) public school boys who have no idea about the real world and will probably inadvertently profit from this show BUT ultimately ruin the UK education system (along with countless other institutions in the UK) resulting in massively dwindling teacher numbers as we (yes I am a teacher) all either leave the profession or go teach in the private sector (where at least we know it is private) or go abroad to teach.

    Either way things will end badly for the vast majority of ordinary working people – whether they are old/young work in the private/public sector or don’t work at all.

    Sorry if this sounds a little paranoid. I hope I am proven wrong and that everything ends wonderfully. All we can do is fight it tooth and nail, make their jobs as difficult as possible.

    18 February 2012 at 6:42pm
  14. Janet said:

    B

    18 February 2012 at 7:14pm
  15. Gill Lee said:

    I am afraid I have to join Alan in his paranoia and fear that Number 1 will be the outcome. The current set of Tories, Libs and New Labourites will ultimately find nice directorships for themselves and their friends on the boards of private academies and healthcare companies, all subsidised by the taxpayer! Funny how “free-market” capitalism needs such public support to survive.

    21 February 2012 at 10:44am
  16. Steve White said:

    Dear Anti Academies Alliance,
    Waltham Forest NUT had an EC meeting last night and have asked me to write to the Anti Academies Alliance expressing our horror that Downhills has been placed in special measures. They have also asked me to send a message of support to the parents who are still opposing the Ofsted judgment and the government’s decision to force the school into academy status. We have an NUT membership of 2,000

    22 February 2012 at 2:43pm