The deadlock between Michael Gove and all connected with Downhills Primary School in Haringey was smashed last night. Ofsted placed the school in special measures, the governors accepted the judgement, the head resigned for “personal reasons” and the governors now want to meet Michael Gove to discuss the future of the school. As a government source put it, "It is now confirmed that Christine Blower, Fiona Millar and David Lammy have been defending a failing school. They are the enemies of promise who care more about ideology than children."
What is really surprising is the complete and instant collapse of the opposition. I had read Ofsted’s interim report on the school, which noted satisfactory improvement, and did not know which way this inspection would go. I don’t think Michael Gove can have known either. If the inspection had been unfair, the governors would not have accepted it – they were under no obligation to do so, and would have found plenty of leftist support had they appealed. Instead, they accepted the report and in effect abandoned the head. In doing so, they admitted they were wrong too.
The political trio are a mixed bunch. Christine Blower is from the far left of the NUT, Fiona Millar is committed as a parent, but otherwise a typical inner-city activist, and David Lammy is a politician with an issue on his patch, but with no particular knowledge about schools. The idea of “community” is a cover for activist control in areas that are virtually one-party states. The Trots have done well out of this, and the fact that it is hard to pin them down should not blind anyone to the reality. Militant set the trend in the eighties by ceasing to keep membership lists, and only occasionally is the truth forced out from beneath the layers of deceit. It is no surprise, for example, that the Socialist Workers Party will not be opposing Ken Livingstone in this summer’s election.
So, Downshill will soon be an Academy, and will rightly be under pressure to deliver results. In the meantime, I really want to read that Ofsted report…