Parents and local politicians have held a protest against a primary school’s plan to join an academy chain.

Enfield Southgate MP Bambos Charalambous joined Labour councillors and parents for the demonstration outside Walker Primary School in Southgate on Thursday, March 21.

The school, on Waterfall Road, is planning to join the Ivy Learning Trust – a multi-academy trust that includes schools in north London and Hertfordshire – on Monday, April 1.

School governors say the move will increase the amount of funding available to the school and eliminate a budget deficit that has built up over several years.

Enfield Independent:

They also claim it will help to protect front-line teaching jobs and provide children with more learning facilities.

But not all parents are convinced switching to an academy is in the best interests of their children, and a petition opposing the move has been signed by nearly 680 people.

A group of parents has also launched a fundraising bid to allow them to mount a legal challenge against the decision, claiming it was “not taken fairly, properly, impartially, or with appropriate consultation”.

But the school’s headteacher, deputy headteacher and chair of governors have issued a statement denying the claims and defending the consultation.

It states: “The academy consultation was a robust process where governors followed a public sector equality duty process.

“The governing body had a full, open and clear consultation with plenty of time for parents and other interested persons to express their views.

“The governing body seriously considered the impact on pupils with additional needs.

“This decision was taken on the November 28 after a full discussion and a consideration of the information available.

“At this meeting, the governing body actively considered the responses to the consultation as well as all of the documentation from the due diligence process and decided that it was in the interests of the school to proceed.”

Enfield Independent:

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan and other members of the Enfield Labour Group have been opposing plans by several local schools to become academies.

Academisation removes schools from local authority control, which some claim leads to a loss of democratic oversight of education and creates funding problems for the council.

But real-terms cuts to pupil funding from central government mean many schools under local authority control are struggling to make ends meet and see academisation as the best way out of the difficulties.

Academies are funded by the Department for Education and are also able to raise money through sponsorship deals with businesses and other organisations.