Build a Campaign

This is a guide to building a community campaign. It is drawn from my own experiences of running the campaign at Bournville School & Sixth Form Centre. It is based on what worked for us, with a few tweaks using the benefit of hindsight.

This guide is specific to fighting for proper consultation on Academy conversion. For another more comprehensive guide to campaigning around education see the excellent resource ‘Someone Ought to do Something’ from the Campaign for State Education (CASE)

Click on the links to get started…

1. START YOUR CAMPAIGN

For information and advice on;

  • Writing letters
  • Contacting people who can give you help and advice
  • Contacting other parents
  • Contacting teachers
  • Arranging a meeting
  • Starting a Facebook group or blog
  • Keeping positive – don’t be disheartened if your group is small

2. TAKE ACTION

For information and advice on;

  • Leafleting
  • Petitioning
  • Keeping on asking questions
  • Holding a public meeting
  • Lobbying a Governors meeting

3. GET ORGANISED & GROW YOUR CAMPAIGN

For information and advice on;

  • Finding a friendly venue for meetings
  • Creating a committee and choose a spokesperson for your campaign.
  • Asking Councillors and MPs to support your campaign
  • Creating a mailing list
  • Publicising your campaign
  • Establishing regular communications with school leadership
  • Seeking legal advice

4. MONITOR PROGRESS

For information and advice on;

  • Keeping a diary of events and a file of communications
  • Keeping an eye on the school website
  • Keeping a close eye on the school’s progress towards Academy conversion
  • Making Freedom of Information requests

TOP TIPS

  • Don’t be intimidated by self-righteous governors. Watch out for the ‘we are upstanding members of the community’ argument. It goes like this – ‘we give our time for free, we want what is best for the school, therefore you should trust us to make the right decision.’ This is arrogant nonsense.
  • Expect secondary schools to be touchy about campaigning at feeder primary schools but don’t be intimidated by this. We live in a democracy, and feeder schools, their parents and pupils are key stakeholders who should be involved, informed and consulted.
  • Don’t expect teachers to be openly active in your campaign. Some will be, but many will feel too scared or intimidated. You can communicate with them through the union reps. In some schools the union reps may even feel intimidated, or the school may not have union reps. Contact union regional offices for support.
  • Don’t be cowed by unreasonable complaints – eg. ‘your campaign is bringing the school into disrepute’ This is not a legitimate complaint and can be safely ignored.
  • Publish all your dealings with the school online, eg. via Facebook or a blog or both. Keep everything in the open.
  • Use Freedom of Information requests to keep as much information as possible in the public domain. 
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