Downhills Primary School: now that’s what I call consultation
Just a quick post to try to glean information and opinion as much as anything else (if any one cares to comment).
The Education Secretary, Michael Gove has just sacked the entire governing body of a school. He can do that apparently. It’s not common for a Secretary of State to intervene so decisively but there you go. These are strange times.
The school in question is Downhills Primary School in North London, deemed ‘failing’ and proposed for conversion to an academy under the leadership of the Harris Foundation. Now failing or not the academy proposal has proved controversial it seems and not everyone connected with the school is happy. Certainly the hundreds of parent who attended a meeting in January and there local MP, former pupil David Lammy, were against the idea.
Gove dismissed them. The opponents of academies, he said, were ‘Trots’, further claiming that they were linked to the Socialist Workers Party, who are no doubt delighted to discover they have so much influence. Although I can’t help but feel that accusing someone or some group of being ‘linked’ to the SWP is like playing six degrees of separation, divided by 2. There is a tendency to mistake the SWP’s capacity to make placards for political influence.
Whatever. Here’s the best bit. Having simply removed the troublesome board of governers at Downhills, Gove has now put in place an ‘interim executive board’ of hand-picked luminaries – Les Walton, the chairman of the the Young People’s Learning Agency; the head of the Harris Federation, Dr Dan Moyniham and its primary director, Robin Bosher, and Dame Sylvia Morris.
So that’s a bod from an organisation that funds academies and two others from Harris, the organisation that wants to take over Downhills. So with all his lackies and benefactors in place Gove can now confidently move to the consultation process.
I claim no expertise here. So I would ask this: is it just me or does this stink?
By the way, apparently the Harris Federation runs 13 academies in south London and is sponsored by Conservative peer Lord Harris, whose Carpetright store was burned down by looters during the riots last August. Fancy.