In November the founding meeting of Birmingham CASE – the Campaign for State Education –  supported by AABA, agreed to hold a Birmingham Conference on Education.

The conference will be held on Saturday 9 March in a local school.

Speakers will include;

  • Sir Tim Brighouse (formerly Chief Education Officer, Birmingham, and Director, London Challenge)
  • Professor Peter Mortimore (formerly Director of the Institute of Education, University of London)
  • Councillor Brigid Jones (Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services)
  • Viv Randall (Birmingham Primary School Improvement Group and Head of Colmore Infant and Nursery school)

Contributors and workshops from Birmingham schools are being booked now. Contact Birmingham CASE to get involved:

The next CASE Birmingham planning meeting is on Tuesday 22nd January at 7pm at the NASUWT offices, Water Street. It is expected to go ahead whatever the weather. All CASE supporters welcome.

CASE – the Campaign for State Education – has been…

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By Richard Hatcher

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the term Cooperative Trust. One meaning is the Birmingham-wide umbrella partnership that the LA is trying to set up. This has no connection with the Cooperative Schools Society’s Cooperative Trusts, which are schools or groups of schools – LA and academy – adhering to the Coop’s model (over 200 of them now, including in Wolverhampton and Sandwell). Separate again are schools or groups of schools which may set up ‘cooperative trusts’ (again, as in the Bham LA’s model) without having any connection with the Cooperative Schools Society (CSC) model.

A word about Cornwall. Some LA people have given the impression that Cornwall LA has set up a CSC Cooperative Trust involving all its schools. This is not true. The case they are referring to is a CSC comprising Helston Community College and 15 local primary schools. (See below for a…

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Birmingham Against The Cuts

In Our Shoes Save Birmingham Youth ServiceRally to Save Birmingham Youth Service! Please come along and show Birmingham City Council and the Government what its like to walk in the shoes of Birmingham’s young people.

12 noon
Saturday 2nd February

Chamberlain Square, by the library.

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Lifelong Learning Matters

WEA Tutor Kasia Webb’s recent report on the WEA’s West Midland Region’s website shows an imaginative and practical approach to teaching and learning. I’ve copied the text and photographs below.


In December the Spoken English group from Leigh Road School went on a trip to the local Tesco supermarket. Armed with a task sheet, learners organised themselves into small groups of 2 or 3 to find the answers to questions, based on finding items and working out prices and good deals.

Learners were very positive about their the day out and said they found it useful and interesting.

One learner said, “I enjoyed the trip and it helped me understand special offers”.

Another said, “Before I didn’t know what 3 for 2 meant”, and another said, “I now know how I can make savings when I go shopping and I learnt a lot of new words”.

Despite the rain learners…

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Ask Parents First

APF Recommendations on consultation taken onboard

Back in the autumn of 2012 Ask Parents First submitted written and verbal evidence to the Birmingham Scrutiny Inquiry into academies and the local authority. The Council report has now been published. Click to view the Full Report, a Summary and an Executive Commentary by Albert Bore.

We are very pleased that our concerns have been reflected in the report and in particular our recommendations regarding consultation have been taken onboard by the committee – see section 4.8 of the recommendations, extract below;

4.8 Consultation on becoming an academy

As stated in the introduction to this report, Committee members recognise that existing academies are “here to stay”. It is also for the school governing bodies of proposed academies to decide the form of consultation most appropriate to their school community. However we take concerns raised by parents, teachers and trades union representatives about…

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Lifelong Learning Matters

“Arts Council chief accuses Gove of abandoning cultural education.”

This headline in the Guardian caught my eye earlier this week. You can read the full article about Dame Liz Forgan’s farewell to the Arts Council as Sir Peter Bazalgette prepares to take over as the new Chair at

Interestingly, Melvyn Bragg is also exploring the ‘The Value of Culture’ in a current BBC Radio 4 series examining the idea of culture and its evolution over the last 150 years. Podcasts are available at

Culture is one of the WEA’s four main educational themes and we have been mentioned in the Radio 4 programmes. Our other three educational themes are Employability, Health and Wellbeing and Community Engagement. We have distinctive approaches to each of these themes and work collaboratively to develop our curriculum. All the collectively developed text below explains why we think that cultural education is important in the WEA.

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Lifelong Learning Matters

I’m including John Hattie in the Educational Thinkers’ Hall of Fame because of his reputation for research into positive influences on students’ learning. He was already a well-known academic when he made an international impact with his 2009 book, ‘Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement’.

Hattie Visible Learning

Visible Learning – 15 years of research
He based this book on the biggest ever collection of evidence-based research into the most important influences on school-aged students’ achievements. He considered many factors. These included the influence of home, school, curricula, teachers and teaching strategies. His findings are relevant to adult education too.

He analysed all the evidence that he had collected and ranked the various factors in order of their ‘effect-sizes’. Some of his variables, such as ‘feedback’ or ‘acceleration’ can mean different things to different people and Hattie explained them more fully in his narrative.

Hattie’s average effect-sizes

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Lifelong Learning Matters

Warm tributes are being paid to Eric Frith, a committed and active volunteer for the Workers’ Educational Association. Eric, who was the Chair of our Walthamstow Branch, died on Christmas Day at the age of 90.

Eric and his late wife Elise had wide-ranging interests and were very well-known in their community. They first started to organise courses at what is now the Adult Education Centre in Greenleaf Road, Walthamstow in the 1960s. Eric and Elise founded the Walthamstow branch of the WEA in 2005 to make sure that courses could still run at the Centre after the original service changed. He and his wife were over 80 years old when they took on this challenge.

He served as the Branch Chair and continued to do so after Elise died in 2010 at the age of 88. He chaired an active committee which meets regularly for typical WEA Branch…

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