The Socialist 1 February 2012
Fight this profit-mad system
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Haringey takes action against academies
Chris Holmes, Haringey Socialist Party
On Saturday 28 January, up to 1,000 people in north London marched from Downhills primary school, Tottenham, to Haringey Civic Centre, Wood Green.
Downhills is one of four primary schools in the borough faced with forced 'academisation' - being taken out of local authority control to be run by unelected businesses and organisations - by education secretary Michael Gove.
The marchers included staff, parents and pupils from the schools, joined by local residents and trade unionists from across North London. They were there to give an answer to Tory lies that schools like Downhills are failing their children and that putting the running of such schools into the hands of private companies is somehow a solution to the challenges that inner city schools face.
Proud of our schools
The demonstration made it very clear that people in Haringey are proud of their community schools - and that Gove and the Tories have no idea or any real concern for these challenges. But they are ideologically committed to academies and putting them in the hands of their friends in big business, such as Tory golden-boy and Carpetright millionaire Lord Harris.
The private company due to take over Downhills has no experience in running a primary school with the kind of social make-up of the schools in Haringey.
Academies, first introduced by the previous New Labour government, have no better a record than local authority run schools. It is proper funding, not privatisation-by-another-name that schools like Downhill need.
It was no accident that the march ended with a rally on the steps of the council offices - the marchers were clear that what they wanted was a community school run by elected representatives of the community - and not for profit.
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