Parents have received a letter dated 13th June confirming that the decision of the Colmore Schools is not to proceed with conversion to academy status.
The letter from the Chair of Governor states: ‘We are not convinced that at this juncture the potential benefits of conversion outweigh the potential disadvantages’.
We welcome this decision and the consultation which preceded it, and would like to conclude our campaign by sharing the following messages:
To Colmore Schools: Thank you for listening to parents and for consulting. The public meeting you held was an important part of this process, and it was conducted in a positive and balanced manner. We hope the schools continue to flourish as local community schools.
To Birmingham City Council: Many parents have said they valued the involvement of the local authority and didn’t want the schools to ‘break away’. We hope you will do all you can to support and promote locally accountable state education. If schools propose becoming academies, we hope you will ensure they hold a full and open consultation.
To parents at other Birmingham schools: If your school proposes converting to an academy, or is forced to by the government, remember you have a right to be consulted and that academisation is not inevitable. You have the right to be informed about why academy conversion is being proposed and what the consequences will be for you, for your children and for the staff at your school.
To Barry Henley, Mike Leddy and Eva Phillips, Brandwood Councillors: At the recent public meeting, one of the reasons giving by parents for wanting to remain within the local authority was because it gives parents an element of local accountability. Parents in local authority schools can approach their councillors with concerns, whereas in academies those concerns would have to be raised with the Department for Education in London.
However, when we approached you as a group of concerned local parents, you chose not to meet with us and told us you either couldn’t or wouldn’t help. We believe that as our elected representatives you should have been willing to hear our concerns and that you should have played an active role in the consultation process by seeking to obtain the views of parents and the community.
To Steve McCabe, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak: We hope you have noted the deep concerns many parents now feel about the academy programme and that you will fully support the right of parents to be properly consulted in proposed academy conversions.
As a member of Labour’s education team, we hope you will work to rebuild a system of locally accountable state education, with local authorities being given the resources to properly support schools and the power to open new schools where there is a need for places.
And finally, to Michael Gove: You talk of giving schools greater freedom, but the reality is academies come under your direct control, they stop being locally accountable and parents lose their previous legal rights. You have bullied and bribed schools to go down the academy path, often against the wishes of parents, teachers and governors. Your actions have been undemocratic and driven by ideology.
You have created a fragmented education system in which collaboration has been replaced by unaccountable chains of academies which compete with each other and show little concern for the rights of either parents or staff. This is not a system that we can trust to protect the education of all our children – and it is a system that parents at Colmore have rejected.