Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/701/13530
Save community schools - no to academies
A Haringey Socialist Party member
Six hundred parents, teachers, governors and other local residents were at a meeting at Downhills primary school in Haringey, north London, to build the campaign to stop the school from becoming a 'forced academy'. The meeting had been called by the Haringey Anti Academies Alliance and the NUT teachers union.
David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham and a former student of the school, said: "There are 2,500 schools around the country, including 19 in Gove's own Surrey constituency, which are 'performing' worse than Downhills. Why has this school been picked to become an academy, along with three other primary schools in the borough?"
NUT general secretary Christine Blower spoke about the need to raise standards, not by forcing community schools to become academies, but by closer collaboration between schools, local authorities and the communities that they serve.
Fiona Millar, from the Local Schools Network, noted that forced academies flies in the face of the coalition government's 'big society' rhetoric. The community school has the backing of parents, governors and staff. The government wants to take it out of local authority control and hand it to a private organisation.
"Standards have improved in some academies. But in many cases that has been because the admissions policies were changed to keep out students from poorer backgrounds," said Fiona.
Alasdair Smith, from the Anti Academies Alliance, highlighted the difference between his Alliance's campaign and the Labour Party's: he was against academies on any basis - 'forced' or otherwise.
"We should be under no illusion. Gove wants many, many more schools to become academies. Education companies are lining up to take over 1,000 schools at a time, in order get their hands on the government funded academies."
Although Lammy called for continued support for the campaign, he also said that Gove should pick on other schools which have worse results than Downhills!
Teaching and learning improves when it is properly resourced. Smaller class sizes would have a massive impact on the effectiveness of classroom teachers.
There is no 'level playing field' in education. There has always been a two-tier system, since independent schools have been allowed to coexist with state schools.
If Gove's academies programme continues, it will create a base for the wholesale privatisation of state education.
The Downhills primary campaign has called a demonstration through Haringey on Saturday 28 January to build further support to stop forced academies.
In The Socialist 18 January 2012:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis