Forty parents of Small Heath School have written to Cllr John Clancy and Cllr Bridget Jones asking them to intervene to end the dispute at their school, reinstate the suspended union rep and to develop a plan that does not involve academy conversion.Here is the text of their letter;
Dear Councillor Clancy and Councillor Jones
We are writing to you as parents of pupils at Small Heath school to express our deep concern at the situation at the school, which is having a detrimental effect on the education of our children. It is increasingly urgent that the situation is resolved, and we are requesting you to intervene without delay so that the school can move forward. To do so the school needs to recreate a culture of collaboration between leadership, staff and parents focused on getting the school out of Special Measures and back on track.
We do not believe that converting the school to an academy, taken over by another school, is the right way forward and we urge the local authority and the school leadership and management to state unequivocally that it does not intend to pursue this course. We also regard the suspension of a member of staff as unhelpful in resolving the situation at the school and we call for the suspension to be lifted without delay. These are unnecessary obstacles to what should be everyone’s priority: working together to resolve the current situation in the interests of the pupils.
We therefore request that you arrange urgent meetings with the school leadership and management, with staff and with parents with the aim of developing a plan of action which everyone can agree with. As parents we are very willing to meet with you, and to arrange for other parents to take part. Your intervention can resolve the situation at the school. Without it there is a real danger that it will continue.
Yours in anticipation of a speedy response
Parents submitted a 800 name petition to the Council in September asking for consultation but five months later have had no response. Communication with parents has been contradictory and dysfunctional, with the Council making statements to the press and to local MP Shabana Mahmood that there are no academy plans for the school, while pupils have been given assemblies on the merits of academy conversion. At a recent meeting with parents the CEO of the Birmingham Education Partnership, Tim Boyes, told parents that the school would become an academy with no consultation.
The IEB has refused to meet with unions to resolve the dispute with staff, but parents have been overwhelmingly supportive of staff action to protect their school from forced academy conversion.Their letter to the Council comes after the Birmingham Mail withdrew an article claiming that 20 ‘furious parents’ had confronted striking staff on the picket line, after admitting that this did not in fact happen.