Plans are still set to transform an ‘inadequate’ primary school into an academy despite a plea to give the leadership more time to turn things around.

There has been a major backlash from parents, staff and the Brent National Education Union about the plans to hand over Byron Court Primary School in North Wembley to the Harris Federation to become an academy.

A forced academy order was given by the Department for Education (DfE) in line with government policy on what to do after a school is given an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating.

The school had dropped from an ‘outstanding’ grade in 2012 to its current rating after an inspection by the school watchdog in November last year.

And despite ‘Save Byron Court’ gathering once more outside the school gates on Monday (April 16), and a councillor letter addressed to the Secretary of State for Schools to “pause the academisation process” – it appears the Department for Education will be pressing on.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Campaigners outside Byron Court Primary School in MarchCampaigners outside Byron Court Primary School in March (Image: Save Byron Court)

A Department for Education spokesperson told the Brent & Kilburn Times: "As with any school that receives an overall judgement of inadequate, Byron Court Primary School will become an academy and be transferred to a strong trust - with a strong track record of ensuring pupils receive the highest standard of education."

The government department was asked whether it would consider the calls from the community, but instead it boasted that 88 pc of schools are now rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding' compared to 68 pc in 2010.

More than seven out of ten schools which became academies due to underperformance in inspections while they were local authority-maintained schools now have a 'good' or 'outstanding' Ofsted rating, the DfE said.

Cllr Gwen Grahl, Brent Council’s lead member for children, young people and schools, wrote to Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Schools, saying the school was not given “meaningful opportunity for improvement” after a change in leadership.

She added there has since been work to “initiate meaningful change” and claimed there was “minimal consultation or engagement with those whom this decision impacts”.

Inspectors at the time said the school’s leadership was “overwhelmed” and claimed cases of “racist language and sexual harassment” were not thoroughly dealt with.

Tanisha Phoenix, one member of Save Byron Court, said: “We have been told that it is a ‘done deal’ and that it is a legal process in which everyone must facilitate. Our message is clear, whilst we understand that the process may indeed be a legal one, we also believe that it is immoral, it is unethical and it is above all unjust.”

She added: “We will continue to keep fighting the forced academisation. Byron Court is still under the remit of Brent Council. Whilst it still is, we are urging the local authority to commit resources to continue to facilitate the improvements that have been made to the school.”