Hackney Downs

Saturday 12th December 2020

Hackney Downs: The School that Dared to Fight and Didn’t Deserve to Die

Speakers: Betty Hales & Jeff Davies, the last Head & Deputy Head of Hackney Downs

In July 1995 Hackney Downs School won a prolonged battle to stay open, against a corrupt, incompetent Local Education Authority, convincing the full council to vote against the recommendation of its own Chief Education Officer: an amazing victory, yet just ten days later it was taken over by the East London Education Association, a quango set up by the then failing Tory government, desperate to put the blame for all social ills on anyone but itself. The school was closed with unseemly haste and callous cruelty to pupils, parents and staff. This is a story of loyalty and passion against injustice which set the scene for the negative blame culture of bureaucracy, target setting and over-testing that has plagued education for the past 25 years. The book by Betty and others described what happened: Hackney Downs: The School that Dared to Fight.

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