Hackney Downs School

Scope and Content

Background material relating to a book about the closure of Hackney Downs School entitled 'Hackney Downs: the school that dared to fight' by Maureen O'Connor, Sally Tomlinson, Elizabeth Hales and Jeff Davies. (Published by Cassell, 1999)


Advertising material for the book

Newspaper articles about the school and the book (including letters exchanged in the TES between Michael Barber and Sally Tomlinson)

Letters from B G Bass (member of Education Association), John Kemp (former Head), Tony Burgess (Chair of Governors) and other staff related to Hackney Downs

Correspondence between the book's authors and Falmer Press following their decision not to publish (1998-9); also corrrespondence with a solicitor regarding the legal aspects of the book.

Publishing agreement with Cassell

Original of a review by Tim Brighouse, Jun 1999

Articles on failing schools by Sally Tomlinson

Material relating to the Judicial Review of the closure judgement on Hackney Downs, including: transcript of the review, 12th Dec 1995; transcript of the appeal, [1996]; affadavits from Michael Stark, Sally Tomlinson; timeline and overview of the court case

Report of the North East London Education Association into Hackney Downs School, including reports on finance, administration and teaching, 1995

'Schools in Hackney: some issues' - a report by HMI (1990)

Correspondence from the Charity Commission relating to the charitable status of the school, 1995

Examples of letters to parents regarding alternative school places for HD pupils

Copy of Head's reports to governors, March 1995

Summary of the Ofsted Inspection Report, May 1995

Letter from Tony Burgess (Chair of Governors) giving details of the school's progress in implementing the Ofsted Action Plan, Apr 1995

Summary of verbal feedback from the HMI Review visit to Hackney Downs, Mar 1995

Correspondence concerning the proposed establishment of an Education Association to control HD, including copies of letters from the Secretary of State

Correspondence relating to the report of the Education Association, notably a response from the Senior Management Team to the Secretary of State, and the formal letter of closure from the S of S.

Hackney Black Parents and Teachers Group - pamphlet

Hackney Downs School Parents Newsletter, 16 May 1995

'The future of Hackney Downs School: report to the Secretary of State for Education and Employment' by the North East London Education Association. includes handwritten notes [by ST] on the subsequent careers of HD teachers

Copy minutes of the Meeting of Heads and Chairs, 21 Nov 1994

Handwritten note and evidence relating to a 'racist incident book', 1990

Gus John memo and other papers re mid-term entrants, 1993

Letters re a meeting of the 'Hackney Downs School Parents Against Low Educational Standards Group', 1994

Papers relating to a disciplinary case and the resignation of Mervyn Hinds (Head of Maths), 1994 (linked to the above group)

Letters etc 'evidence of promises of financial cushioning' - letter from Chair of Governors and documents presented to Governors, 1993

Letters between Governors and DfE regarding the headship of HD, Oct/Nov 1994

PTA notes of Parent's Meeting, 16 Jan 1995 - comments by Dianne Abbott MP

Notes of appraisal meeting of Betty Hales, Acting Head, 11 May 1995

'Hackney Downs School: the last thirty years', by John Kemp

Secondary School Performance Tables 1996 - Hackney (DFE booklet)

London Borough of Hackney: its people, facts and figures', 1996

Administrative / Biographical History

Hackney Downs was founded as the Grocers Company School in 1876. It transferred to the LCC in 1906 and became Hackney Downs School in 1944. It was initially a boys grammar school but became a comprehensive school in September 1974. Following a series of 'failing' inspection reports, the school was placed under the control of an Education Association appointed by the Local Education Authority in June 1995. It was closed in December 1995.

Maureen O'Connor is a freelance education journalist (previously education editor at the Guardian); Sally Tomlinson is at Oxford University, having been a Professor at Goldsmiths; Elizabeth Hales was Head at Hackney Downs; Jeffrey Davies was Deputy Head at the school.

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