As an adult learner and as an administrator involved in 14-19 education I support the aim of lifelong learning, a phrase hackneyed to death by politicians but as yet little more than a phrase. Thanks, Ann, for showcasing again the value to individuals and, by extension, their communities of access via NIACE, the WEA and partner organisations.

Lifelong Learning Matters

England’s Adult Learners’ Week began yesterday with the national awards ceremony in the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London. Other national and regional ceremonies are taking place across the UK, including one in Stormont in Northern Ireland today.

Yesterday’s event was inspirational, uplifting and moving. It was a privilege to be there.

Short films were shown about individual award winners. Each one was a celebration of people’s resilience and capacity to turn their lives around, often against almost overwhelming odds, when they made the most of adult education opportunities. Winners talked about their experiences of dealing with all sorts of problems such as alcohol and drug dependency, criminal behaviour, abusive relationships, homelessness, disability and difficulties with reading and writing.

Some winners talked about being ‘reborn’ and most wanted to give ‘something back’.  All had the confidence to be interviewed live on stage in a packed auditorium, which is no mean…

View original post 372 more words

Can’t attend on 28th as it clashes with Ask Parents First. But there will be plenty to be done between then and October if this is to mobilise national ill-feeling against what Lansley and his ilk have done, are continuing to do. 7 October is in my diary.

Birmingham Against The Cuts

The Tories are back in Birmingham for their 2012 conference, and the Midlands TUC have announced they will be holding a demonstration on Sunday 7th October.

Today we are calling for grassroots organisations in and around Birmingham to come together and discuss what we can do over the next 5 months to get as many people from the West Midlands as possible to the demonstration, and what we can do to help pressure the TUC to make this a national demonstration against austerity.

Monday 28th May, 6pm-7pm at Unison Offices, 19th Floor McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway, B4 7NN.

Unemployment is rising, prices are going up, wages staying down and benefits being slashed. We’re back in recession, performing worse than the Eurozone.
The rich are getting richer and benefiting from tax cuts whilst working families see VAT and fuel prices jumping ever upwards.
And the deficit? It’s barely…

View original post 123 more words

It is good to see local councillors taking onboard the concerns of the electors of their ward. We are aware of the peculiar position of the ousted coalition council toward conversion, disapproving but not prepared to act. Now it remains to be seen exactly what the new Council’s approach will be. It is to the credit of these individual councillors that they are getting involved.

Cruise's Muses

Earlier this week I was approached by my new Labour colleague from Kings Norton Ward Valerie Seabright after she attended a meeting at Colmers Junior School.  Val attended the meeting in her capacity as the Vice Chair of Governors at Colmers Infant School.  The meeting was called as the Junior School has been contacted by the Department of Education recently informing the School of the Department’s intention to force them to Academy status.  This is not the first instance of this happening.

The bullying tactics used by the DofE is nothing short of shameful.  The DofE representatives have threatened the Board of Governors with their removal if they do not agree to proceed to Academy status.  The Local Authority under the previous Tory administration stated they were against forced Academies but did NOTHING.  Michael Gove has said Schools are not being forced and they will be judged on a School by School basis. …

View original post 118 more words

There are many who believe academisation is inevitable, that those schools which do not embrace it and jump – on the bandwagon – will be pushed, under less favourable terms. Conventional wisdom says conversion can’t be fought – resistance is futile – yet here is a link to a very practical blog by a group who have resisted, successfully, handing on the benefit of their experience.

Ask Parents First

The following  link comes from the successful Hands Off Bournville School Campaign. It is a comprehensive guide to campaigning for meaningful consultation. The HOBS campaign successfully fought voluntary academy conversion at a large and successful secondary school in Birmingham, and while the situation is very different for forced academies, the principles of building a successful campaign are largely the same

Build a Campaign.

View original post

Eye-opening and informative. So if the school governors can’t be bluffed or brow-beaten, replace the governing body with placemen.
Surely such practices belong to bygone ages?

Ask Parents First

The following post is copied and pasted directly from the lawyer David Wolfe’s blog ‘A Can Of Worms’. I have re-blogged it here because it is of direct relevance to the situation of forced academies in Birmingham

April 30, 2012

By DW

The short answer is that neither the Secretary of State nor a local authority has direct power to force a maintained school to become an academy.

They are doing it in practice either by (a) replacing the school’s governing body with an Interim Executive Board comprising people he has chosen who then act on their behalf in ‘applying’ to become an academy; or (b) by pressuring the existing governing body into applying themselves (i.e. jumping before they are pushed).

If a maintained school is eligible for intervention then the local authority and the Secretary of State both have powers of intervention.

But neither can directly force a…

View original post 240 more words

Excellent and practical advice from people who have been there.

Ask Parents First

By Mohammed Ashraf

Firstly I would like to say as I have mentioned before, how important it is for parents to understand the purpose of the campaign so I stress that you do your own research in addition to this.

Montgomery School Campaign

Why as parents we decided to start a campaign

  1. Currently with a maintained school we have a fair balance of representation of the governing body, parent, community, LEA and staff governors. This gives a fair say to all stakeholders. With academies they will have 51%+ of their own governors so in effect parents and the community have little to no say how the school is run.
  2. It is privatization of our school as not only will the sponsor ‘top slice’ the school funding but can outsource services for less cost to make more profit. This will inevitably mean lower quality. As parents should we allow businesses to…

View original post 647 more words

I Should Be Marking

I seriously considered leaving education today. And if I had a viable exit strategy I might have taken it further.

Did I have a bad lesson? Was a pupil abusive, violent or threatening towards me? Not at all. I had the pleasure of my delightful Y7s, made a breakthrough with my Y8s, managed some productive revision and even had a pleasant time on a cover lesson.

What made me think about leaving was the agenda for Monday’s full staff meeting. Item 1? OFSTED. And pinned up next to it, the minutes of a recent Heads of Faculty meeting.

  • In recent years we’ve been told our lessons have to be pacey.
  • They have to help the students demonstrate independent learning.
  • We have to give the students time to explore concepts and ideas.
  • We have to demonstrate progress. From every student. Every 15 minutes.
  • We have to make sure we build literacy…

View original post 598 more words

Watch out, the academisation process doesn’t take the school breaks. It gathers its own ugly momentum and will overtake you unless you remain vigilant.

Ask Parents First

Following the public meeting in Northfield on the 10th May, the Headteacher of  West Heath Primary School wrote to parents on 11th May informing them that there would be a meeting for parents about academy conversion after the Whitsun break. This post will be updated with further details as we get them. However after the Whitsun break is quite a long way away, particularly if procedures for converting  to academy continue during this time. We would encourage parents of West Heath to write to the headteacher and chair of governors as a matter of urgency requesting that all steps towards academy status are put on hold until open and democratic consultation has taken place.

If you are a parent of West Heath Primary please email askparentsfirst@hotmail.co.uk to be put in touch with other concerned parentsat the school.

View original post

Ask Parents First

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…

View original post 423 more words