Colmers Farm Junior School announces it is being forced to become an academy

Colmers Farm Junior School in Birmingham has announced in a newsletter dated 11th May that it is being forced to accept academy status. The message from the headteacher is reproduced below;

CHANGES IN EDUCATION
The Coalition Government, through the Secretary State for Education, Michael
Gove, has made clear its ambition to convert all state schools to academies by
2015. Academies will not be run by Local Authorities but by various organisations
with educational interests and funded directly by the Treasury of the UK
Government. This is the Government’s initiative to transform education and raise
standards in English schools.
The Secretary initiated the process for conversion to academies for Primary
schools last year. A school graded good or outstanding could convert to an
academy in their own right but those schools who showed low attainment and
progress rates over time were subject to forced academy transition. This school
was not part of the process at this time. However, new legislation in January
2012 increased this remit to schools like ours with a notice to improve. There are
a significant number of schools in Birmingham currently involved in this change.
Consequently, the school received a formal visit from a representative of the
Department of Education requesting that the Governing Body proceed with
initiating the process of converting to an academy.
This was presented to the Governors last Wednesday evening by the above
representatives. The process will involve selection of possible providers to act as
a sponsor to this school. Governors will be working with the DfE during this
process and will brief and consult families as soon as further information is
available.
In the meantime, Governors are working constructively to ensure that the process
will ultimately provide a quality, modern education service for our families now
and in the future.
Please note, this requirement to convert to academy status applies only to
Colmers Farm Junior School and only this school has been approached by
the DfE.

Richard Hatcher from the Alliance Against Birmingham Academies has commented;

In our view this statement seriously understates both the threat to the school and the need to inform parents of it without delay. It is designed to give the impression that nothing untoward is being proposed. Few parents will be aware that what a ‘sponsor’ means is that the school will be taken over by a private organisation, probably one of the academy chains, that the school will no longer be part of the local authority, that the likelihood is that the governing body will be changed, with the majority of governors appointed by the ‘sponsor’ and a reduction in the number of parents, that in future the key strategic decisions will be taken by the board of directors of the chain, not by the school governing body…in short, that the school is in effect being privatised. The DfE’s rationale for this is that it will raise standards. In our view this claim is not supported by the evidence of the performance of existing academies compared to comparable schools.


Concerned parents from Colmers Farm Junior School have begun a Facebook group for parents and community members to discuss the plans to make the school accept academy status.

Ask Parents First calls on the Headteacher and Governing Body to embark on an open and democratic consultation process.

If you are a parent of Colmers Farm Junior School email askparentsfirst@hotmail.co.uk to be put in touch with other parents from the school


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