Parents claim “choice is being taken away” as their children's school is set to become an academy after it received the lowest possible Ofsted rating.

Byron Court Primary School in North Wembley was ordered to become an academy by the Department for Education (DfE) after it dropped from an ‘outstanding’ rating in 2012 to an ‘inadequate’ following an inspection in November last year.

Inspectors from the education watchdog claimed the school's leadership was "overwhelmed".

In their report, breaktimes were described as "chaotic", responses to bullying "inconsistent", and racist language and sexual harassment not thoroughly dealt with.

Acting headteacher Richard Sternberg has informed parents that headteacher Martyn Boxall will be standing down at the end of the school term.

There is also a proposal to join multi-academy trust Harris Federation, which runs 54 primary and secondary schools across London and Essex.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Ofsted found the school to be 'inadequate'Ofsted found the school to be 'inadequate' (Image: PA)

But parents at the school argue that while there may be problems, it is not one they have ever experienced or been aware of.

In fact, 120 parents are now backing a ‘Save Byron Court’ campaign, with fears that being “forced” into academisation will limit children’s education and impact SEND students.

'We don't want an exam factory'

Matt Paul, who currently has two children at the school, said: “I think that most of the parents will be Brent constituents, the council should absolutely want us to have a say.

“If you want your child to going to a perceived high performing academy, zero tolerance, there’s choices out there, send your kids to them if you want.

“But if you want your kid to go to a community school, an inclusive one that cares about your child, we should be able to and that’s what we done. And that choice is being taken away from without our say, without any input at the moment. That just doesn’t seem fair or right at all.”

Mr Paul has been one of the many among the group helping to push the campaign and allow parents to have a say on the future of the school.

He said a survey handed out to parents showed that nearly 40 per cent said they didn’t think the Ofsted report accurately reflected their experience of the school – but 62 per cent said they want it to remain a community school.

Mr Paul added: “It’s really important it remains a community inclusive school, one that we’ve chosen. We’ve chosen the school for a reason because of their ethos and their values and their approach.

“We don’t want to send our kids to an exam factory like so many of these academies are designed to be.”

He argued that leadership changes were already being made before the Ofsted inspection and that many were confident staff could help improve the school with acting head Mr Sternberg’s guidance.

“I think what is also binding us all is the fear of who is being preferred, this giant [Harris Federation] who has no local connection to Brent,” Mr Paul said.

“Why do we have no sort of control in this matter and why has no one asked our views whether the school should become an academy or whether we should go with Harris or anyone else?”

'There are real concerns'

Tanisha Phoenix, who also has two children at the school, described the process as a “whirlwind”.

She said: “We’ve been kept in the dark for a lot of the situation and we’re trying to sort of come to terms with the report.

“They talk about the better funding, but were worried about it affecting extracurricular activities being taken away, SEND children being affected, staffing cuts for things they don’t deem necessary.

“These are real concerns for parents and a lot us didn’t really know what academisation would mean.”

“We do feel that it would be detrimental to our children and the children of the future.

“We’re not going to have a choice anymore of the kind of schooling that our children receive.”

Cllr Gwen Grahl, the cabinet member for children, young people and schools at Brent Council, said that the “legal position” of the school receiving an inadequate rating means the decision rests with the Secretary of State for Education.

She added: “We feel that the oversight offered by the local authority is invaluable, for teaching staff, pupils and the wider community and wherever and whenever possible we always encourage schools to remain part of the Brent family of council maintained schools.”