Protest over school on academy 'hit list'

Hundreds have signed a petition at the 670-pupil to protest at the Government’s proposals

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The Independent Online

Education Secretary Michael Gove was embroiled in a fresh controversy as parents and teachers staged a protest over plans to force their school to become academies.

The 670-pupil Gladstone Park primary school in Brent, north-west London, is on the Government’s “hit list” of schools being considered for compulsory take-over by private sponsors following an inspectors’ report labelling it as “inadequate”.

The school is the third to oppose plans to force it to become an academy as part of Mr Gove’s plans to crack down on under-performing schools.

The parents dispute the Ofsted report, saying they do not recognise the description of the school in the report by the education standards watchdog. Hundreds have signed a petition – also signed by all the teaching staff – to protest at the Government’s proposals.

An earlier Ofsted report the previous year said the school was maintaining the standards set in a previous inspection when it was rated “good” with outstanding features.

Alex Colas, who has an eight-year-old daughter at the school, said: “We don’t recognise the school our children go to in that Ofsted report. The main problem identified was a lack of progress in years three, four and five but an action plan’s been drawn up to remedy that. This is an incredibly well behaved school.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We cannot stand by if a school is failing children. We believe academy status with the support of a strong sponsor is the best way of securing rapid and sustained improvements.” She added DfE was considering representations  from the school before making a final decision.