Lewisham Council has been accused of forcing a Catford school into becoming an academy, as campaigners warn a host of secondaries could follow suit.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has branded the move at  a "hostile takeover", while parents will meet there on Tuesday (Dec 9) at 6pm to discuss concerns.

Sedgehill, which celebrated its best ever A-Level results in the summer, faces having its governors removed next month and replaced with an interim board after refusing to agree for an academy principal to become its executive headteacher.

And the news has added momentum to an anti-academies campaign in Lewisham which warns Bonus Pastor Catholic College in Downham and the three Prendergast schools - Hilly Fields, Prendergast Vake and Ladywell Fields - are all considering academy status.

NUT branch secretary Martin Powell-Davies said of Sedgehill: "Parents, staff and students are not going to sit back quietly and let children's education be damaged by such a hostile takeover."

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Lewisham Council decided to take action, issuing a warning notice allowing it to appoint the principal of Bethnal Green Academy as executive head after Ofsted inspectors said Sedgehill required improvement.

In a letter sent home to parents last week, chair of governors Magda Moorey explained: "The local authority invited the governors to appoint a headteacher from a different inner London academy, believing this appointment would accelerate the school's improvement. 

"Sedgehill governors decided they wanted to continue to work with their existing partners and, as a result, the local authority applied to Ofsted for increased powers to intervene at the school. Governors appealed this decision, but the authority's request was upheld."

Campaigners, who held a protest at a council meeting held at the school, last month, say the move is way of engineering" academy status - something they claim can lead to selective admissions, have high staff turnovers and often don't provide the education improvements promised. 

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Mr Powell-Davies, who is threatening strike action, said: "Far from supporting children as the authority may claim, their actions will damage education. Staff and students are facing disruption instead of support. 

"Parents are already discussing whether their children will be happy staying at an academy, instead of at a community school like the existing Sedgehill. 

"An imposed change to school senior management is expected which could then soon be followed by an attempted academy conversion"

A spokesman for Lewisham Council said: "The council has a responsibility to ensure that all schools are achieving the very best for all their students, and we work closely with them to do so.

"We have been working with the governors at Sedgehill School to help them build on improvements already made, with the priority to ensure that the school’s progress continues at a fast pace.

"The school leadership, governors and Council are all in agreement that the objective is to provide the best solution to help the school rapidly improve its performance."