Ask Parents First

The Birmingham Mail has today reported that teaching unions have suspended the strike threat over forced academies at 13 Primaries until they can determine whether the new Labour-run council will support them in standing up against forced academies.  Union leaders have written to Brigid Jones, the new cabinet member for children and family services calling for an “urgent meeting” .


It is vital that we as parents let Brigid Jones know our views on forced academies by writing to her as individuals. We must demand that the council supports schools  in resisting academy status that is being forced by the DfE against the wishes of the school community. We must urge Brigid Jones to pass a resolution that no Birmingham school can convert to academy without open and democratic consultation with parents and other stakeholders.


Please email Brigid Jones  on

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Ask Parents First

There have always been good reasons to become a school governor, but in these times of change with schools being bullied into giving up control to private sponsors, the looming threat of our schools being run for profit and the consequent loss of education as a public good, it has never been so important.

Becoming a school governor is a significant commitment, but is a great way to ensure you have a say in the future of your local school. You don’t need to have a family member at a school or college to become a governor. Enthusiasm, commitment and an interest in education are the most important qualities.

You can apply to be a school governor:

  • directly to your school
  • through your local authority
  • by filling in the application form on the School Governors’ One Stop Shop (SGOSS) website

Find out more about who can become a governor, what…

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Ask Parents First

UPDATE: Parent-campaigners Cormac Loane and Karen Shurrock who are fighting for a parent vote on academy conversion at Waseley High School were interviewed on BBC Hereford & Worcester this morning (19th June) – about 65mins in..

Parents of Waseley Hills High School, concerned about the lack of open and democratic consultation on proposals to convert to academy status, have organised a public meeting and vote on Waseley Hills High School academy conversion.

  • This meeting may be the one and only opportunity for parents to hear full information on this vitally important issue, and to express their views to School Governors through a vote.
  •  Speakers will include parents and experts on academy conversion.
  •  It will be a fair and balanced meeting, with both sides of the argument being invited to speak

The meeting will take place on  Wed. 20th June,  7.00pm at the Beacon Church …

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Ask Parents First

Staff and parents at West Heath Primary are strongly against the proposed academy.

Parents are holding a public meeting  on Thursday 14 June at Oddingley Hall, Oddingley Rd, West Heath, B31 3BS.

Parents were understandably outraged to discover a few weeks ago that plans to convert are at an advanced stage and negotiations with a sponsor, The Elliott Foundation,  are in the process of being finalised, despite parents not having been consulted at all on the future of their community school.

The Elliott Foundation is a brand new enterprise with no previous experience of running schools, having been formed just this Spring to take advantage of a perceived ‘gap in the market’ as a result of the Government’s forced academy programme.   Read more here

Despite apparently brokering the deal with the Elliott Foundation against the wishes of staff and without consulting parents, it is understood that the headteacher Mr Duggan…

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Ask Parents First

Following the decision in October 2011 not to proceed with academy conversion (read more here), Bournville School and Sixth Form Centre in Birmingham is consulting on Foundation Status.

A meeting for parents and carers to participate in the consultation is to be held on Wed 13th June, 2012. Governors will be available in the PPC, in the Bronte building, from 6 pm.

A Q&A document about Foundation status has been made available on the school website

Parents are being asked ‎to provide comments in writing to the Clerk to the Governors, Karen Seleshe either by email ( or hard copy, care of the school by 22nd June.

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Ask Parents First

About 50 people attended a public meeting on Thursday 10th May at Northfield Baptist Church to discuss the threat to local primary schools being forced into academy status. The meeting had been organised by the teaching union NUT and the parent group Ask Parents Firstwhich is campaigning for open and democratic consultation on academy conversion. The meeting was aimed at three local schools, Northfield Manor, Primrose Hill and West Heath Primary, all of which, along with around 30 other schools across the city, are being forced to accept academy status by the DfE. Parents from all three schools were represented at the meeting.

The meeting was chaired by President of Birmingham NUT, Gay Hatton, who spoke about the threat to state education from the academies programme. Parents and community heard from four speakers.

Academies do no better than other schools

Richard Hatcher, Professor of Education at Birmingham City…

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Ask Parents First

By Mohammed Ashraf

Firstly I would like to say as I have mentioned before, how important it is for parents to understand the purpose of the campaign so I stress that you do your own research in addition to this.

Montgomery School Campaign

Why as parents we decided to start a campaign

  1. Currently with a maintained school we have a fair balance of representation of the governing body, parent, community, LEA and staff governors. This gives a fair say to all stakeholders. With academies they will have 51%+ of their own governors so in effect parents and the community have little to no say how the school is run.
  2. It is privatization of our school as not only will the sponsor ‘top slice’ the school funding but can outsource services for less cost to make more profit. This will inevitably mean lower quality. As parents should we allow businesses to…

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Cruise's Muses

Earlier this week I was approached by my new Labour colleague from Kings Norton Ward Valerie Seabright after she attended a meeting at Colmers Junior School.  Val attended the meeting in her capacity as the Vice Chair of Governors at Colmers Infant School.  The meeting was called as the Junior School has been contacted by the Department of Education recently informing the School of the Department’s intention to force them to Academy status.  This is not the first instance of this happening.

The bullying tactics used by the DofE is nothing short of shameful.  The DofE representatives have threatened the Board of Governors with their removal if they do not agree to proceed to Academy status.  The Local Authority under the previous Tory administration stated they were against forced Academies but did NOTHING.  Michael Gove has said Schools are not being forced and they will be judged on a School by School basis. …

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Think Left

History: Building a State Education System for All

The struggle for the working class to survive through generations of deprivation demonstrates an intellect and an ability to learn new skills. Without doubt, many lesser intellects could not have survived and adapted. But this has rarely been enough to escape from poverty, since the route to escape a life of long hours of toil working below ground or in factories needed skills and qualifications and an education which, to the rich and privileged, was exclusive to themselves, and begrudgingly for the middle classes whose votes they depended on. For the working class, the route out of poverty was education. To the son or daughter of a miner, an education was the passport to another life.

© Leslie Caldwell Dreamstime image

For working class children, prior to WW2, the best hope of an education which might lead to an escape from poverty…

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Michael Gove plans to seize around 30 Birmingham Primary schools and turn them into academies.

These schools are currently run by the Council. It means that the schools are democratically accountable to us and if the Councillors neglect our schools we can vote them out. Michael Gove wants to hand them over to unelected academy chains, many run by businessmen in the same way they run their businesses.

Despite the claims by the government and the media academies are not ‘proven to succeed’. The most recent GCSE results show that 27% have seen their results decline or remain the same.

Many academies have relied on NVQs and other exams which have been considered to be equivalent to several GCSEs to improve the position in the league tables. The government have now abolished these equivalents and academies have seen some dramatic falls. The ARK academy in Birmingham, St Albans…

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