Report from Alliance against Birmingham Academies

Tuesday 11 January. Richard Hatcher spoke with powerpoint presentation to meeting of around 25 governors of the Four Oaks cluster of 9 primary schools at Hill West primary, organised by the head, Beth Clarke.

Wednesday 12 January. About a dozen Alliance Against Birmingham Academies (AABA) supporters leafleted a meeting at Rookery primary school Handsworth organised by the head, Tracy Stone, with a speaker from Anthony Collins, Birmingham solicitors specialising in Academy conversion. (We hear that the chair of governors is employed by Anthony Collins – we’re following this up.) Heads of the 29 schools in the Handsworth Association of schools were invited – 12-15 attended. AABA has asked to speak at a future meeting of the HAS and we are hopeful of being included in the February meeting.

Thursday 13 January.

Richard Hatcher spoke with powerpoint presentation to meeting of heads of the 26 primary schools in the Sutton Coldfield consortium, organised by the head, Beth Clarke. The response at the Four Oaks and Sutton meetings can be summarised as: we don’t like Academies, we don’t want to leave the Local Authority, though we have criticisms of it, we don’t like the cuts, we don’t like being blackmailed by the government into becoming Academies, but if it’s a choice between that and losing jobs we reluctantly will. So all depends on the school budget allocation to be announced next month. However, a trickle of secondary schools are already taking the decision. Ninestiles and Arthur Terry/Stockland Green have already decided, as have the 5 King Edward grammar schools. We have just learned that Lordswood Girls, Bartley Green, Perry Beeches and Kings Norton Girls are planning to convert. Unions need to rapidly contact their reps and members and arrange meetings. One factor in schools deciding is the support services the LA can offer. They are now being turned into semi-privatised traded services, putting staff’s jobs and the survival of services at risk. The Campaign to Retain Our Support Services – CROSS – has two important activities in the next few days. They need our support.

Saturday 15th January – Petitioning outside Waterstones, Bullring, Birmingham City Centre. Before Christmas, we managed to collect almost 2000 signatures. A brilliant start but we need thousands more.

Forthcoming Meeting Monday 31 January 6pm – AABA planning meeting – NASUWT offices, Ludgate Ct, Water St. You are very welcome to attend. Please let us know if you are able to help with leafleting etc or have useful contacts – or if you have information about Academy and free school developments. The meeting will include a report back from the Anti-Academies Alliance AGM this Saturday.

Richard Hatcher On behalf of AABA

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