In what will be a test case for schools across the UK, four primary schools in the London borough of Haringey - Downhills, Noel Park, Nightingale and Coleraine Park - are fighting government attempts to force them to become academies, moving them from elected local authority control and into the hands of private companies and charities. Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove has threatened to remove the schools’ boards of governors and replace them with unelected appointees on 27th January if the schools do not accept academy status. But a meeting of 600 people on Monday showed the strength of community opposition to the plans. The governors of Downhills school in Tottenham have also issued their own ultimatum – they will seek judicial review if the education secretary does not back down by 19th January. The academy programme, which also takes schools out of nationally determined pay and conditions for teachers, was begun under the Labour government, and has been enthusiastically rolled-out under the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government – while there were 200 academies in the UK when they came to power, over 1000 have been created since. However, the Haringey primary schools are the first to be forced to become academies. At the meeting, held in one of the affected schools, the National Union of Teachers and the Anti-Academies Alliance both condemned academies in principle, arguing it amounts to privatisation of the state education system. Although local Labour MP David Lammy would not condemn academies outright, he argued that schools should only become academies out of choice. The governors of Downhills primary school have also criticised local Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone’s argument that taking the government to court is disruptive, asking how it can be unreasonable to demand that parents and the community are consulted before any major changes are made to their schools. There will be a lobby of parliament at 7pm today, Thursday, 12th January when David Lammy will host a debate on the issue. A call has also been made for a protest on Saturday 28th January at 12 noon meeting at Downhills Primary and marching to Noel Park Primary, Nightingale Primary and the Haringey Civic Centre.