Academies & Lies: Downhills Primary documentary

Documentary detailing the community campaign against the forced academisation of Downhills Primary in 2012.

Submitted by Choccy on February 18, 2013

Some interesting scenes in this documentary. Effectively charting the campaign against something that was clearly a done-deal long before parents or school workers were told anything about it.


The recordings in the sham 'consultations' reveal the way that the community campaign was effectively torn apart - through carefully selected timetabling and small 'consultations' where parents could be outnumbered by those doing the bidding of Harris and the academy agenda generally.

What was clear was that parents were aware it all had nothing to do with 'improving education' but everything to do with selling off schools to mates of the government so they could start making profits, while at the same time smashing the local authorities and thus the national agreements and union recognition.

Downhills, precisely because of the strikes by teachers, and large community campaign involving, parents, staff and students, was a key battle for Michael Gove and academy expansion, hence the governments willingness to flex so much muscle, even goading parents and 'Trots' and 'enemies of promise'.

The dependence on a legal challenge would always distract from the community campaign, and it was obvious the state wouldn't rule against a programme it created.

There is a telling point where a parent says, "if every school done this [fought academisation] they'd have to stop". Instead there's been lots of atomised struggles, that, while inspiring, have ultimately been easy to defeat in the absence of co-ordinated national struggle against what is a national agenda.

Interested to hear comments from people who know a little bit more about or were closer to the campaign. What sort of lessons were learned?