Around 45-50 people attended a public meeting tonight at Northfield Baptist Church to discuss local primary schools being ‘forced’ into academy status.
President of Birmingham National Union of Teachers (NUT), the largest representative of teaching staff, Gay Hatton led the meeting where parents and other interested parties heard from four speakers before being asked to contribute.
Rick Hatcher, Professor of Education at Birmingham City University and joint chair of Birmingham Anti Academies Alliance, provided some statistics which appeared to throw doubt on the performance benefits which the government claims academy status affords.
Ask Parents First campaigner Sarah Burton called for open and democratic consultation for all schools considering the academy route.
Jeremy Paige NUT representative for Bournville School, which recently turned down academy status after a hard fought campaign by parents and staff, stressed how parents need to campaign and support staff and governors.
NUT Midlands Regional Secretary Kit Armstrong explained how staff were afraid to speak out, not just for themselves, but for fear of what may happen to their schools. She stressed the need for a wider coordinated campaign.
Labour councillor for Northfield Brett O’Reilly supported calls for an open, democratic process. He pledged to write to all heads and governors at schools in Northfield ward requesting that they respect this, and that he would ask other Labour councillors to do the same.
Groups of parents from Northfield Manor, West Heath and Primrose Hill Primary Schools then got together to organise how they could begin their campaigns.
If you are a parent of a child at one of these schools, or suspect that your school may have been approached but have not yet spoken out, get in touch with Ask Parents First for advice and to be put in touch with others: firstname.lastname@example.org