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Schools, don’t ‘jump before you’re pushed’ – the government can be forced to back down on the White Paper

Over two thirds of Birmingham primary schools and nearly half our secondary schools have chosen to stay with the local authority and not become academies. And many of those that have left the LA have not done so voluntarily, they have been forced to become sponsored academies.

But now some LA schools are thinking of voluntarily becoming academies out of choice. They think it’s better to jump before they are pushed, and at least avoid being forced to join one of the academy chains.

We say that’s premature and unnecessary. There is a huge and growing opposition to the White Paper and there are already signs that the government may have to back-track.

That campaign is already beginning in Birmingham;

  • On 5 April the Council passed a resolution against the White Paper, moved by Cllr Brigid Jones.
  • Cllr Martin Straker Welds, member of the education scrutiny committee, has sent an email saying “Once the local May elections are out of the way, Cllr Brigid Jones and I intend to work with other Labour councillors to embark on an organised campaign with unions, media and the LGA to mobilise opposition across Birmingham and the UK.”
  • The classroom teachers unions in Birmingham are opposing the White Paper
  • And on 21 April the Birmingham Governors Network passed a resolution at its Executive meeting stating that they were against forced academisation and the abolition of mandatory parent governors and want to support any future campaign.

The urgent task now for every school governor – whether parent, community, staff or local authority governors – is to call a halt to any moves by their schools to ‘jump before they’re pushed’, and instead to spread the word among parents that the school wants to stay with the local authority and that with their support we can force the government to retreat.

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