Stories + Views
Downhills: judicial review update
Downhills school has been refused permission for a judicial review. A BBC report says the judge had cited a letter from Gove saying that the Secretary of State “believed firmly” that Downhills would improve once it had converted. The judge also said that Downhills’ past performance had been “egregious”. It appears, then, that the judge ignored the September 2011 Ofsted which said the school was improving because of strong leadership and help from the Local Authority. The judge also ignored the 2011 Sat results which were above the benchmark.
It appears, therefore, that the judge placed Michael Gove’s belief above the evidence from Ofsted and the 2011 Sats.
The DfE made much of the 2012 Ofsted report which said the school was failing. But this judgement is dubious – the Ofsted team was led by the same lead inspector who found the school was improving barely a term before.
The judge may have decided that Michael Gove acted legally but he had not acted ethically. He has ignored Ofsted 2011 and the Sat results. Worse, he has ignored the wishes of the overwhelming majority of parents. He has dismissed a properly-constituted governing body and imposed one of his choosing.
In January 2011, BBC Radio 4 asked Mr Gove a tongue-in-cheek question: was he a libertarian or a Stalinist? If there was any doubt about the answer then we know it now. Tuesday 14 August 2012 was a sad day for democracy in England – the consultation with a local community has been overruled by one man.
Downhills’ response is here.