18/06/2012 09:57 BST | Updated 18/06/2012 10:55 BST

Downhills Primary School Strike Teachers Urge Michael Gove To Visit School

Parents and teachers at a school resisting academy status will visit Westminster to urge Education Secretary Michael Gove to pay the primary a visit.

Staff at Downhills Primary in Haringey, north London, are staging their second day of strike action tomorrow in protest at government plans to force the school to become an academy.

As part of the action, a group of teachers, parents and pupils will visit the Department for Education (DfE) to hand in a giant memo calling on Gove to visit the school.

In May, parents and teachers accused the education secretary of "illegally" forcing academy status on the school.

Downhills was placed in special measures earlier this year after failing an Ofsted inspection.

As a result, the DfE, which maintains that the school has struggled to meet acceptable standards for years, has said it should be turned into an academy.

But there has been a local campaign by some parents, teachers and community members to keep Downhills under local authority control.

Teachers at the school - who are all members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) - first took strike action over the change to their employer if the school becomes an academy, last month.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "This is another example of the Education Secretary forcing his will and vision for education upon communities who do not want to see their schools handed over to unaccountable sponsors.

"This has nothing whatsoever to do with standards but everything to do with the break-up of our education system."

Tomorrow's action will be taken jointly with Unison, the NUT said.

Since the latest Ofsted inspection, headteacher Leslie Church has resigned and a new interim governing body has been appointed.

Academies are semi-independent state schools that receive funding directly, rather than through a local authority, and have more freedom over areas such as pay and conditions and the curriculum.

The programme was first introduced under Tony Blair's Labour government, with the aim of boosting standards in disadvantaged areas.

Since coming to power, the coalition has opened up the scheme to allow any existing school to apply for academy freedoms.


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Pictures of the Day 18 June 2012