Having failed to persuade more than a few hundred primary schools to become academies voluntarily, the secretary of state for education has become the playground bully, using draconian legal powers to force schools into academy status, removing democratically elected governing bodies, circumventing the important role of local education authorities and creating more opportunities for those in the private sector to take over England’s schools.
It is clear that the Haringey schools mentioned in your article (Gove accused of aggressive treatment of primary school, 16 December) and, we understand, many more around the country are being used to promote the government’s academy agenda. Department for Education officials are instilling fear in schools and putting them under intense pressure to convert voluntarily rather than face the stigma of being forced to become academies run by external sponsors as so-called failing schools. This use by Michael Gove of legal powers, departmental staff and resources to pursue a political agenda has nothing to do with school improvement and must cease forthwith. Decisions about schools are best made by people from the communities they serve. This undemocratic programme is no more than political dogma and has nothing to do with localism or communities.
David Lammy MP Labour, Tottenham
Christine Blower General secretary, National Union of Teachers
Mary Bousted General secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Chris Keates General secretary, NASUWT
Dave Prentis General Secretary, Unison
Alasdair Smith National secretary, Anti Academies Alliance
Martin Dore General secretary, Socialist Educational Association
Haringey Labour councillors: