All the good schools in Brum are academies - says academy Head Liam Nolan

Sarah Barton's picture
Birmingham Scrutiny team are currently conducting an inquiry into academies and the future role of the Local Authority. I gave evidence today on behalf of the Ask Parents First campaign, then I stayed on for the next session in which they heard from 3 Converter Academy Headteachers. These Headteachers suggested that all the good schools in the city are academies and that therefore any co-operative model that the LA puts together will only be catering for the weak schools. The scrutiny team is holding one more session on 21st Oct but they don't have any Local Authority secondary headteachers lined up to counter this false representation of the facts. Are there any Birmingham secondary LA headteachers out there willing either to submit written evidence to the inquiry or to contact Cllr Anita Ward about giving evidence on the 21st Oct? I know there are many many good LA schools in Birmingham that have not chosen the academy route for very good reasons, but this is not being represented to the Scrutiny Committee at the moment.
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Patrick Hadley's picture
Thu, 11/10/2012 - 15:20

I know that some of the Catholic schools in Birmingham are excellent. There are dozens of brilliant Catholic primary schools, and some exceptional comprehensives: St Paul's Girls School for example. I am sure that Jim Foley, the head of the outstanding St Thomas Aquinas Comprehensive, who knows the city schools well, would be a good person to talk to.

As for Liam Nolan, nobody takes anything he says seriously after his misadventure in the Sandwell Valley at 11:20am on a school day...

Sarah Barton's picture
Thu, 11/10/2012 - 17:03

Correction - the next evidence session is on 17th October, not 21st as stated above.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 11/10/2012 - 17:14

Liam Nolan seems to have forgotten that his school was a community school when it became so successful. His school only became an academy in May 2012. And I thought converter academies were supposed to support weaker ones? Birmingham has proposed a cooperative framework to support all its schools yet it appears that the heads of the three converter academies want nothing to do with this cooperation.

Sarah Barton's picture
Thu, 11/10/2012 - 17:38

To be fair to the 3 HTs, they did all speak about the work they are already doing supporting local Primaries, but I did find much of what Liam Nolan said confusing. He stated that he doesn't agree with academies or free schools, yet he has not only converted his school, but is opening Perry Beeches 2 - a free school. On the one hand he said that academy HTs would be 'insane' not to participate in the LA's co-operative framework, but then repeatedly emphasised that as an academy he 'doesn't have to' and he seemed to imply that it is by no means certain that he would be prepared to do so unless there was something in it for him. The other HTs didn't express these views, but then againthey said nothing to counter them either.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 11/10/2012 - 17:49

Thanks, Sarah, for clarifying the situation. The picture does seem to be very confused with Nolan saying one thing and doing the opposite. He spoke at the Tory conference and Gove praised both Perry Beeches, the school that Nolan improved, and the free school that's just opened, Perry Beeches II.

Strange, though, that all three heads have forgotten so quickly that they were recently non-academies and any success before conversion would have been achieved when they were non-academies.

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