The Department for Education has told Colmers Farm Junior School in Rednal that it must apply for academy status.
At least 16 primary schools across the city are now known to have been approached to become academies, including Northfield Manor, Primrose Hill, West Heath and Jervoise.
The headteacher informed parents on Friday via the school’s weekly newsletter that the DfE had requested that “the governing body proceed with initiating the process of converting to an academy.”
But there is a cloak of secrecy surrounding which schools are being converted, with many parents being kept in the dark, as governors and staff are fearful of speaking out and considering not taking the academy route.
It is understood that all the schools approached have been told that they must apply or their governors will be removed so that the application can be moved forward. The government is attempting to force academy status as they work towards their aim of making all primary schools academies by 2015.
It is thought that around 30 schools across the city have been approached, but some estimations say that as many as 80 have been told to apply for academy status.
The government cites the success of secondary academies as a reason for enforcing the change on ‘failing’ primary schools. There has been some doubt cast on just how successful academies are.
There is also doubt as to what methods and data have been used to select which schools are classed as failing. Some of those selected have struggled in recent years but are currently showing marked improvement. Jervoise School in Weoley, for example, has been turned around by headteacher Kevin McCabe over that last three years and continues to improve.
If you are unsure whether your child’s school has been told to become an academy, you should ask the headteacher directly. If you are concerned that parents will not be kept informed or consulted, write to your board of governors requesting a full and open consultation before any application for academy status is progressed by the governing body.
Parents from some schools affected have set up facebook groups where parents can discuss the moves: