Tuesday 12 February 2013

Evening Standard covers Gladstone Park, Roke and Thomas Gamuel resistance to forced academy status

Parents join forces to fight academy takeovers

Campaign: families protest outside Gladstone Park primary in Brent
From today's Evening Standard LINK

Parents of pupils at London schools under threat of being forced to become academies are uniting to fight the plans.

A growing number of schools are at risk of compulsory takeover by private sponsors following unsatisfactory Ofsted reports. Parents from three primaries are working together to combat the plans and are due to contact campaigners at a fourth. They say the move is “politically-driven, disproportionate and undemocratic”.

At Gladstone Park primary in Brent, families have accused Education Secretary Michael Gove of setting the “attack dogs” on them and held a protest outside the school this weekend.

The school received an inadequate Ofsted report before Christmas and governors were told a sponsor would be chosen to take over the running of the school within weeks.

Roke primary in Croydon and Thomas Gamuel primary in Walthamstow are also on the “hit list” after inadequate Ofsted reports. Parents at the schools argue the reports are a “blip”
Alex Colas, whose daughter goes to Gladstone Park, said: “The Government has set the attack dogs on us. There is a sense we are being picked on. Bullied is a term that was used.” Parents at Gladstone Park dispute the Ofsted report. The school has previously been rated as “good”.

Mr Colas said they were getting advice from protesters at Downhills in Tottenham, who failed to stop the school becoming an academy last year. There are plans to contact Thomas Gamuel school where 180 parents have signed a petition against academy proposals.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We cannot just stand by if a school is failing children. We need to make changes quickly.”

She added that Ofsted’s report and representations from Gladstone Park were being considered before making a decision.

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