Hundreds of local residents protested outside Baverstock School yesterday evening to let government officials know closing the academy is not an option.
“Save our school” is the message they chanted loud and clear whilst West Midlands Schools Commissioner Christine Quinn had a meeting with staff and school officials about the closure consultation.
Organisations such as work union GMB and Momentum South Birmingham also joined the protest which made national headlines.
Just last week the Department for Education officially responded to a petition local MP Steve McCabe handed into the House of Commons, but still did not offer any information to how the school was allowed to get into the situation in the first place.
Although the response from the DfE hasn’t told us anything we already know, we were surprised to see that the department commented that they will ensure that the students education is not disrupted and they will work with the LEAP Academy Trust and Birmingham City Council to identify alternative places for students where needed.
This goes without saying, a closure of any school will no doubt affect all students regardless of the support from the Government.
Commenting on their response, Steve McCabe said “I’m not surprised the Education Department have failed to offer any new information about what they claim to have done to rescue Baverstock Academy. Their bland response makes it sound as if those involved in running the school volunteered for closure.”
“The truth is that they had a gun held to their head, telling them there would be no more money and closure was the only option. It looks as if government plans for Selly Oak constituency are to close an 800 place school despite rising demand which means more children getting up at 5.30am to catch buses to schools all over the city and an average cut of £600 per pupil funding for every school in the constituency.”
“No wonder nobody here has any faith in this government’s education policies. They have prevailed over a situation where a once successful school was allowed to convert into a Single Trust Academy without proper support and since the first signs of trouble the only answer seems to have been to run it down and close it down.”
“I find it astonishing that I haven’t even received a response yet from the Secretary of State to my request for an urgent meeting and even more shameful that she’s rumoured to be planning a visit Birmingham for a photo op with the great and the good but avoiding Baverstock children and parents like the plague.”
Parents, carers, staff or anyone else with an interest can submit their views to the Regional Schools Commissioner by emailing [email protected]
You can also respond in writing at:
Office of the Regional Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands,
53-55 Butts Road
Responses to the consultation must be received by Tuesday 7th February 2017.