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Parents call for public inquiry over Dollis Hill primary school being forced into an academy

PUBLISHED: 12:20 07 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:20 07 March 2013

Parents, staff and pupils protest outside Gladstone Park School.

Parents, staff and pupils protest outside Gladstone Park School.

Jonathan Goldberg

Gladstone Park Primary School joins forces with schools across London to fight controversial move

Parents from a primary school on the brink of being forced to become an academy are co-launching a new campaign group claiming “extreme bullying” at the hands of government officials.

Gladstone Park Primary School, in Dollis Hill, have joined several primary schools across the capital in requesting a public inquiry into forced academisation claiming it is resulting in the privatisation of the education system behind closed doors.

The group, called Parents Against Forced Academies (PAFA) has made a series of claims including that; governors and head teachers who resist plans are threatened with the sack, parents are repeatedly met with rude and dismissive responses from government officials and that fake consultations are being run after decisions have been made.

Under strict new government rules, outlined by education secretary Michael Gove, any school that is considered as “failing” will be forced to convert to an academy meaning they become funded via central government and have private sponsors placed with them.

Gladstone Park, in Sherrick Green Road, faired well in the primary school league tables but an Ofsted report in December last year identified the school as having “serious weaknesses”- a new level of grading which was created alongside “special measures” to identify schools that needed to improve.

However, parents and staff claim this was only down to a slight decline in pupils’ achievements in the middle years and have said the new grading system is a cynical move to enable the government to force more and schools to convert to academies.

Parent Zaman Wong, who has two children at the school, said: “The decision by the DfE to impose academy status is a grossly disproportionate course of action, ignoring the many strengths of our school identified by Ofsted, the indisputable achievements of our pupils and the wishes of the parents.

“The entire process has been unjustified and artificially rushed, with a complete lack of transparency or any consultation with parents and governors”

A sponsor was expected to be announced for the school before half term but the Department for Education has said no decision has been taken on a sponsor as yet.

Other schools protesting alongside Gladstone Park include Roke Primary in Croydon, and Downhills in Haringey.

The Brent and Kilburn Times gave the Department for Education until 5pm yesterday (Wednesday) to respond but has not heard back.

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