Downhills Primary placed in special measures


Downhills primary in Haringey, which is at the centre of a row over attempts to force it to become an academy, has been placed in special measures by Ofsted. 

It was judged inadequate in 2002 and put into special measures for three years. In January 2010 it was again judged inadequate by Ofsted and told to improve.

Education, Secretary, Michael Gove, wanted the school to become an academy because he said it was failing pupils - four out of 10 of the school's students at Key Stage 2 are failing to meet the government's standards for English and maths.

However, supporters of the school have been campaigning against the plan, arguing that any restructuring of the school should not be imposed until there has been a full consultation with parents, staff and the local community.

One of the school's governors, Roger Sahota, said:  "We don't think forcing Downhills to be an academy is in the best interests of the pupils."

Mr Gove had asked Ofsted to carry out the latest inspection after parents protested against his plans to make the school an academy.

Supporters of Downhills say it is improving, but the Education Department says it is only just over the minimum standards after years of failure.

Campaigners have also threatened legal action to prevent the forced conversion of the school, but the education department has stuck to its proposals to force under achieving primary schools to become academies, saying that it has a responsibility to intervene if standards are not good enough.

The government wants England's 200 worst performing schools to become sponsored academies. Downhills Primary faces being converted in 2013.

A DfE spokesman said: "We can't just stand by and do nothing when schools are sub-standard year after year. Academies are proven to work. They have turned around dozens of struggling inner city secondary schools across London and are improving their results at twice the national average rate.

"This is about rooting out underperformance and driving up standards, so that students reach their academic potential."