More than 800 people have signed a petition calling to stop a primary school being forced to become an academy after it received the lowest possible Ofsted rating.

Parents and others opposing the move are growing in numbers following the announcement that Byron Court Primary School in North Wembley would join multi-academy trust Harris Federation.

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

The Brent & Kilburn Times reported last week that 120 people had backed a ‘Save Byron Court’ campaign, with fears that being “forced” into academisation would limit children’s education and impact SEND students.

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

In a joint petition by the group and the Brent National Education Union (NEU), 839 people have now shared these concerns.

The petition states: “There is no guarantee that any of the improvements or stability needed will be made, on the contrary, academisation could well bring plenty of new problems, particularly the loss of well-loved and valued teaching & support staff who could be forced out.”

To sign the petition, visit:

Why is the school becoming an academy?

In their report inspectors from the education watchdog said the school's leadership was "overwhelmed".

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

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

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.”

The Harris Federation runs 54 primary schools and secondary schools across London and Essex, but only one in Brent - the former Capital City Academy which rebranded to the Harris Lowe Academy.