1. ITV Report

Teachers strike over academy plans

The Department for Education has told Downhills Primary to become a sponsored academy. Photo: ITN

Teachers at a school in Haringey are going on strike today, in protest against plans to turn it into an academy.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said that the move was opposed by both staff and parents - who would rather keep Downhills Primary under local authority control.

The Department for Education (DfE) has instructed the school to become a sponsored academy, arguing that the move would help drive up standards. The school was placed in special measures earlier this year after being declared inadequate in an Ofsted inspection ordered by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The school has previously claimed that Mr Gove was illegally attempting to force academy status on Downhills and that standards at the school were improving.

In a statement, the union said: "Until this intervention by the DfE the school was popular with pupils and parents. The parents have been engaged in a very active campaign to retain Downhills as a local authority maintained school.

"The strike action being taken by NUT members is largely supported by the community and its purpose is to bring to the attention of the wider population in Haringey, the local authority and the Government that this type of intervention has no place in the running of education."

The DfE says it is "disappointed" by the union's decision. A spokeswoman said: "This will not achieve anything positive for the school, and will be hugely damaging to the children's education.

"Downhills has been underperforming for several years. Most recently Ofsted found that it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and that those responsible for leading, managing and governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement."

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

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