Academy figures for January 2012

The latest government figures for academies, released on 6th January, show that 1529 schools are now academies.

50 academies opened in December, of which 17 were primary school.

56% of secondary schools are not academies – 1767

96% of primary schools are not academies – 15053

Click here for breakdown by Local Authority

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Speeches from the 600 strong Downhills school meeting

600 parents, teachers and members of the local community gathered to say no to the privatisation of four of Haringey’s primary schools, Downhills, Noel Park, Nightingale and Coleraine Park. Click here for a full report

The speakers were David Lammy MP, Christine Blower from the NUT, Alasdair Smith from the Anti Academies Alliance and Fiona Millar from the Local Schools Network.

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600 at meeting to resist forced academies in Haringey

600 parents, teachers and members of the local community gathered to say no to the privatisation of four of Haringey’s primary schools, Downhills, Noel Park, Nightingale and Coleraine Park.
The meeting was addressed by David Lammy M.P. the Member of Parliament for Tottenham. The Secretary of state for education Michael Gove wants to force the four schools to become academies. He has given them until the 27th January to agree the change of status. If they do not comply he says he will abolish their boards of governors and replace them with unelected appointees. Gove claims the schools are failing and says that academy status is the only way to fix it.
David Lammy, a former pupil of Downhills primary one of the schools affected, stated that although he was not against academies in principle he was against the idea of forced academies. He stressed that school improvement was important but this was not primarily a question of structures.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT stressed that she was against academies in principle and the union supported those parents willing to fight this process. She emphasised that this was privatisation not school improvement.
Fiona Millar also spoke from the Local schools Network. “Even Thatcher did not do something as nasty as this” she said.
The final speaker was Alasdair Smith from the Anti Academies Alliance. Whist agreeing that some schools may need to be improved he pointed to the research that showed that the quality of an education system cannot exceed that of its teachers.
The speakers were followed by many angry teachers, parents and local school governors who all opposed the proposals.
The meeting was urged to come to lobby Parliament on Thursday 12th at 7pm when David Lammy will host an adjournment debate on the issue.
The meeting also backed a call for a demonstration on Saturday 28th January at 12 noon assembling at Downhills Primary and marching to Noel Park Primary, Nightingale Primary and on to the Haringey Civic Centre.

Click here for more information about the campaign in Haringey

Video of the speakers here

Alasdair Smith’s speech notes here

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Save Downhills Campaign week of action

The Save Downhills Campaign will be embarking on a Week of Action from Monday 9th January 2012, to coincide with the Secretary of State’s original deadline for our school to have passed a resolution to become an academy or be forced to convert.

Events which the press are invited are:-

Monday 9th January 2012, 7pm at Downhills School, Philip Lane, London N15.  The NUT have organised a public meeting to strengthen and broaden the campaign against Haringey primary schools being forced to become academies.  The panel will include David Lammy MP, General Secretary of the NUT Christine Blower, Alasdair Smith from the Anti-Academies Alliance and Fiona Miller from the Local Schools Network.  Local councillors, parents, carers and teachers from Downhills and other local schools will also be attending.

 

Wednesday 11th January 2012, 3.30pm at Downhills School, Philip Lane N15.  We will be recording our campaign song ‘Save Our School’.  This was written by children and adults who attended our Winter Festival and will be sung and performed mainly by people connected to Downhills School.  We will be uploading the final version to YouTube.

 

Friday 13th January 2012, 3.30pm at Downhills School, Philip Lane N15.  Children, teachers, other staff, governors, parents and other family members will be ‘Hugging our Community School’.  We will be creating a human chain to symbolise who the school belongs to and to show that being a community school is an important message we want to convey to the Secretary of State.  A forced conversion to academy status without any consultation with the school community is not something the Downhills Community will accept.

 

If you would like to know more about these events or cover them for your publication, please contact Janet Lallysmith at savedownhills@hotmail.co.uk or call Janet on 07840126424.

 

 

Background Information

Save Downhills Campaign – Who we are:

We are all members of the Downhills Primary School community who are worried about the Department for Education’s plans to force the school to become an academy.  Our campaign is supported by parents and carers, all of the school staff, governors, our PTA, David Lammy MP, local councillors and many people in the wider community.  The school was told in the last week of term in December that the Governing Body needs to agree to become an academy by 20 January 2012 or the government will disband and replace the Governing Body and seek a sponsor with a view to it becoming an Academy.  This sponsor could be a private, profit-making company.

 What we believe:

  1. We chose Downhills because it’s a thriving, happy, inner city school that welcomes children and families from around the world.   We are proud that 93.5% of our pupils come from ethnic minority backgrounds. N15 has been recognised as the most diverse area in the UK.
  2. We have every confidence in the Headteacher and the Governing Body as they seek to improve standards.  This is the Governing Body that we elected.  If we were unhappy with the Governing Body or the Council we could use our votes to change them – what democracy would there be with an academy?
  3. Ofsted has recognised that “the school is now making satisfactory progress in addressing the issues for improvement and in raising the pupils’ achievement”.  Many changes have been made and more are underway.  The academy issue could derail that progress.  We believe it was inappropriate for the Department for Education to raise the academy issue when governors and the Headteacher are focused on school improvement and with Ofsted due to re-inspect the school.
  4. To remove the school from public control is disproportionate to the problems the school faces – we think it’s a politically-motivated sledgehammer to crack a nut. More resources could help the school improve even faster – schools in Haringey receive up to £1,500 less per pupil than schools in inner London boroughs, because Haringey is funded as an outer London borough, even though our children’s needs are the same as those in inner London.
  5. There is no evidence that academies improve standards in the primary phase.  The evidence that academies improve secondaries is open to interpretation.  Haringey’s Headteachers support our stance saying that this is an “untried and unproven way of delivering school improvement”. Our children need consistency, not experiments.
  6. The time given for consultation is inadequate.  Almost three quarters (72.8%) of our children come from homes where English is not a first language.  Many of our families come from hard-to-reach communities.  The number of our families living in deprivation is twice the national average.
  7. Key Stage 2 results for combined English and Maths are 61% although the school expects to have the results of two pupils discounted, increasing it to 64%. Whichever figure is used, it is higher than the Government’s own new “floor level” of 60%. There are many other schools which fall below this level who have not been targeted for academy conversion.
  8. As well as having an upward trajectory of improved results, Downhills is also good at things that are hard to measure like community involvement, art and music.  For example every child takes part in instrumental music lessons.  Our children are happy and secure at Downhills and we are concerned about disruption and emotional upheaval if this forced change is made.
  9. The Roma travelling community in particular is well represented at Downhills, as are the children of families seeking asylum from the most troubled parts of the world.  Only 36 out of 59 children who took SATS last year had been with the school since Reception.   Our SATS statistics are affected by welcoming these children, as many come from communities that traditionally do not perform well in tests.
  10. Downhills is rooted in its community; it has belonged to the people of Tottenham for more than a century.   It represents a constant and caring presence in the often turbulent lives of our children. Tottenham is still reeling from last August’s riots; the community wants to rally round the recovery – the academy agenda is a distraction.

Click here for ‘Who we are and what we believe’

Click here for ‘Downhills School Factsheet

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Montgomery parents hand in 700 strong petition against forced academy

On Friday 6th January 2012 at 3.10pm a petition and letters to individual governors were handed in to Montgomery School. The petition addressed to the head of governors constituted of 704 signatures, a signature for the future of every child at the school was gathered by ‘Parents Of Montgomery’ a community and parental anti academy campaign group setup amongst worried parents and members of the community. We are demanding that a public meeting is set and a fair consultation is carried out by the school where the FOR and AGAINST arguments are clearly explained to the parents and local community. The head teacher and head of governors have failed to deliver this other than a watered down version of an academy and now are actively looking for sponsors.

As parents and members of the local community we acknowledge that the school does need to improve but reject that the undemocratic forced Academy is the way forward. We do have other options but this is clearly the first step to privatise the education system and as parents we ask ourselves that are profit making companies the safest hands to entrust our children’s future? No

We have also written to our MP Roger Godsiff who has replied to say that he is fully supportive of our anti academy campaign. We praise Roger Godsiff’s for standing with the parents and local community and we are still waiting for the response from our Labour councillors and hope they will too support us.
A public meeting is being planned.
Parents of Montgomery Parents_at_montgomery@hotmail.co.uk

Save Montgomery School on facebook

Last year NUT, NASUWT and GMB members struck against the proposal and were supported by parents on the picket line. See the report here

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