How a parent’s bid to save their school exposes the rotten core of our democracy

Shaunagh Roberts doesn’t hang out in courtrooms and can’t quote Latin, yet her battle shines as bright a light on our corroded politics as any case in the supreme court. I’ve been writing about it in these pages for over a year: how she and an entire community are fighting this government and one of its central dogmas to save their local school. And now we can exclusively reveal that in the past few days, Roberts has forced the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, into a historic climbdown. Her victory is to be celebrated, even while it raises other profound questions about what kind of democracy we live in. The Guardian reports.

Not that Roberts saw herself playing any such role in the spring of 2018 when she and other parents at Waltham Holy Cross primary learned that the school had been judged inadequate by Ofsted inspectors and would be handed over to Net Academies Trust. It was only as Roberts began looking into those put in charge of her sons’ education that she learned that three Net schools had already been given to other trusts: evidence of Net being itself a failing trust.

The way in which our school system has been transformed this decade has been, in its ugliest political facets, a rehearsal for the way in which our democratic norms are now being trashed. With academy schools, as with suspension of parliament, two of the key figures were Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings. In the face of widespread protest, Gove used procedures meant for emergencies like anti-terrorist laws to shove the Academies Act through parliament in just five working days.

Read the full inspiring but worrying article How a parent’s bid to save their school exposes the rotten core of our democracy 

Has your school been taken over by an academy against the wishes of staff and parents? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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