The Governing Body of Bournville School & Sixth Form Centre in Birmingham has abandoned plans for Academy conversion this academic year. Governors voted by an overwhelming majority at a full Governing Body meeting on Wednesday 12th October to postpone consideration of Academy status until after September 2012. The decision followed months of campaigning by concerned parents and the community. Just days earlier NUT and NASUWT members had suspended imminent strike action on the understanding that Governors would review their position at the meeting.
Bournville School & Sixth Form Centre is a large, successful and happy Community School serving a diverse community in the south-west of Birmingham.
The parent-led campaign group ‘Hands Off Bournville School’ has been fighting Academy conversion since June. Parents’ concerns have centred on a lack of democratic accountability, the lack of demonstrable educational benefits, loss of support from the local authority and unsatisfactory consultation. Things were looking bleak for the campaign when a FOI request over the summer revealed that the application to convert had already been made, despite the consultation being ongoing. Parents were considering making a legal challenge.
Teachers and staff have been overwhelmingly opposed to Academy status for Bournville and saw their opposition as an act of loyalty to the school. NUT and NASUWT members were set to strike on 11th October, but action was averted at the last minute following an undertaking by Headteacher Barbara Easton to recommend that Governors postpone their consideration of Academy status.
Headteacher Barbara Easton has made the following statement in a letter to parents dated 14th October;
Following a Governing Body meeting on 12th October the decision was made not to proceed with Academy Status for the time being. It was felt that the school is not yet ready for such a significant change. Thank you to everybody who contributed to the consultation.
Parents, teachers and the local community have welcomed this as the right decision for Bournville and are over the moon that Governors’ have chosen to heed their concerns.