The Save Roke group is to launch a legal challenge to the plans of Michael Gove, the education minister, to hand their primary school over to a private academy.
The group announced its plans last night, and is working with the Anti-Academies Alliance to raise funds to pay lawyers’ charges. Within a day, they had already received enough donations to take them to half of their initial target.
The campaigners believe that they may have a case in law to challenge the Secretary of State’s actions, which they believe have gone beyond his powers by referring the state primary school in Kenley to the Harris Federation when the school is not a “failing” school.
The Anti-Academies Alliance issued a statement today in which they announced a new campaign organisation and called for an immediate “public enquiry into bullying behaviour endemic in forced academisation of schools.”
The statement said that with the Department for Education, “bullying is endemic in forced academy conversions. Parents from bullied schools are fighting back and launching a new campaign group – Parents Against Forced Academies (PAFA). This arose from the frustration parents feel at not being listened to on key decisions about the handing of our schools by rich businessmen running academy chains.”
Any court case against Gove could establish a precedent over quite how far the minister’s powers can extend in handing over public property to private organisations, such as the Harris Federation, which is run by one of the Conservative party’s biggest donors.
The Anti-Academies Alliance accuse Gove of using money from the education budget to fund “fake consultations… controlled by the academy chains who stand to gain most.
“The conflict of interest could not be clearer,” they said.
“The behaviour of the DfE contravenes key principles set out in the government’s own legal advice and other government agendas such as localism, Big Society and community rights. When making a decision that will impact on the general public, Civil Service Departments are required to meet a series of tests in measuring the lawfulness of an exercise of public law, PAFA believes that Michael Gove is ignoring these basic rules of public life.
“It is more like dictatorship than democracy.”
Angeline Hind, a Roke Primary parent, is quoted as saying: “At times it feels surreal like we are living in Communist China. Our schools are at the tip of a tidal wave to come as more and more schools are forced to convert. This is not about standards but political ideology and privatisation by stealth.”
- Angry Roke parents accuse minister of misleading over status
- Nash letter dashes hopes for Roke to escape Harris
- Gove will tear us apart: the challenge facing Roke Primary
- Roke Primary to be handed over to a carpet salesman
- Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon – 253,473 page views Sep 2012-Feb 2013
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- With threats and bribes, Gove forces schools to accept his phoney ‘freedom’ | George Monbiot (guardian.co.uk)
- Roke Primary School (croydoncommunists.wordpress.com)
- Parents join forces to fight academy takeovers (standard.co.uk)