Gove will tear us apart: the challenge facing Roke Primary

An hour-long film on the battle against academy status by a group of parents and teachers in north London offers salutary lessons for a local school

Roke Primary School, in Kenley, is being handed over to a carpet salesman on the say-so of Education Secretary Michael Gove, according to a senior member of the Conservative-run Croydon Council.

downhillsAnd even Croydon’s Tories are trying to distance themselves from Gove’s decision, with Kenley councillor Steve Hollands stating in a letter to parents that the borough’s executive director for education had confirmed “that the LEA [Croydon local education authority] was not consulted by the DOE [Department for Education] over the choice of sponsor for Roke.”

Hollands goes on to say: “The LEA is disappointed by the lack of consultation as are we as local councillors. However, the Exec Director confirmed that the Secretary of State has the statutory powers to take the action he has over under performing or failing schools.”

Only in the case of Roke, the school is not under-performing nor failing. The school had been ranked as “outstanding” by OFSTED as recently as 2010. It has had one recent adverse inspection, which may not even have offered an accurate result.

It seems that Gove is determined to help out Tory party donor, Lord Harris, by providing the Harris Academy Purley – Haling Manor as was – with a good-standard feeder primary school to help shore up the new-ish academy on Pampisford Road.

That is certainly the conclusion reached by parents and staff at Downhills Primary in north London, who spent a year battling against the diktats of the former Murdoch hack, whose response was to sack the governors and accuse all the parents of being Trots.

The YouTube video is below.

But here’s a thought for concerned Croydon parents, teachers and the odd Trot… Gove’s parliamentary private secretary is none other than local champion, Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central.

Any reasonable viewing of the Downhills film should make most ordinary people wonder whether Barwell has to shower with bleach and wire wool at the end of the day after spending too long in a confined space with Gove.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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2 Responses to Gove will tear us apart: the challenge facing Roke Primary

  1. Great article! We will be watching the film together soon. Thanks for supporting Roke parents in our campaign.

    Please could everyone supporting us sign our petition

    You can read our campaign and the Save Roke story here

  2. This is a wonderful piece. I just hope those of us who wish to stop Roke school being bullied in this way prevail.

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