Read and be angry.

“Academy status for primary schools is totally untried and untested, but there are now 29 Primary schools across the city being threatened with forced academy status. Parents and community at most of these schools do not even know they are on the list, and the chances are that they will neither be told nor consulted. This is wrong.”

Hands Off Our School

I am starting a new group to bring parents and community across the city together to campaign for proper consultation on educational change, and I would like to invite you to get involved. As you may already be aware, parents’ experience of academy consultation in Birmingham has been seriously flawed with consultation often taking place after the decision has been made. For a fairly typical example see this post about the experience at Kingswinford School. A few of us have been fortunate in being able to make our voices heard at last – including my school community at Bournville School & Sixth Form Centre, but things are set to get a lot worse for parents across Birmingham.

In the 2011 Education Act the Secretary of State for Education gave himself new powers to bypass governing bodies and impose a sponsor of his own choice on schools. Michael Gove is…

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Missed this so I’m reblogging now because it is worth a read. Recent events – Downhills, Montgomery Primary – evidence the forced conversion strategy cranking up. Gogwit recommends…

Hands Off Our School

And a new phase of forced Academy conversion begins

A comparison of the DfE’s latest publication list of schools applying for Academy status  with the list published in August shows that since August only 4 Birmingham schools have submitted applications to become Academies. Furthermore the current list up until December 2011 shows that last month no schools in Birmingham submitted an application at all, not one Birmingham school opened as a new Academy and no applications from Birmingham schools were approved by the DfE.

If this Wikipedia list of Birmingham’s schools is correct, there are 400 state schools in Birmingham – 296 Primary schools, 76 Secondary Schools and 28 Special Schools. Of these, 24 are Academies (7 Sponsored and 17 Converters). According to the DfE’s latest publication there are a potential 12 more in the pipeline. Assuming all 12 convert (which is by no means certain), that will make a…

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Wonder if the Big Screen will be broadcasting budget analysis so that the assembled can learn what else is in the pipeline to swell their numbers (after all you – sorry, we – are all in it together) and what Osborne has in his box to make life just that little bit less bearable.

Birmingham Against The Cuts

2.67 million people are now unemployed in the UK. Austerity is not working. On Wednesday 21st March, George Osborne will unveil his next budget, which we already know will continue to follow a policy of austerity, a policy which is failing the people of the UK and Birmingham.
On Wednesday 21st March, we will join PCS, Unison and Right to Work to protest these policies and call for the alternatives to cuts. Come to Victoria Square at 4pm, to form a dole queue stretching out from the council house.

Perhaps you are one of the 31,000 NHS ringfenced staff who have lost their jobs in the past year, or one of the other 270,000 public sector workers. Maybe you are one of the million 16-24year olds who cannot find work, or a private sector worker whose company has closed due to the recessions caused first by the…

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‘Could these three Councillors be the same ones who voted for £212 million cuts to the Birmingham City Council budget last year and £100 million cuts for next, and are part of the ruling coalition which is trying to privatise all of its leisure services, close children’s homes and decimate the Connexions service for young people?’

I think we should be told!

Birmingham Against The Cuts

At lunchtime today there was a stall and petitioning session outside the Bournville School of Art, which is leased by the Birmingham City University from the Bournville Village Trust.

This was to protest against the privatisation of the education service there, and the extra course costs that are being imposed on top of tuition fees for students. The stall was supported by Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts.
The plan, that is being carried out without consultation, is to transfer the BA (Hons) Art and Design course to a new location in Margaret Street and the Edexcel foundation course to a new building in Eastside in 2013, and the two buildings on the Bournville Green would be used as a training base for foreign students, as a precursor to taking degree courses at Birmingham University. This lease is being handed over to Navitas, an Australian-based, for-profit education company, and they…

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Birmingham Against The Cuts

A local group of residents, workers and claimants has formed around Kings Heath to oppose workfare on our high streets.

You can keep up to date with them directly on facebook by liking their page:

The first event is on Saturday (17th March) – a walk of shame around Kings Heath high street exposing the workfare profiteers.

Gather outside Poundland, on the corner of High Street and Institute Road from 1pm, to set off around 1:30pm for a walk along the high street, stopping off to expose the businesses and charities that use forced labour in their stores.

The next planning meeting is scheduled for Thursday 21st March, from 7pm-8pm at All Saints Centre, Kings Heath high street.. we are waiting for final confirmation on the date but it should be correct – just please check back on our upcoming events page, or the Kings Heath Against…

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What it takes to move from ‘comics’ to ‘op ed’ …

Why Evolution Is True

This week’s Doonesbury is going to be about abortion and the right-wing craziness around it in America.  There is no weapon as sharp as sarcasm, and Garry Trudeau wields it with great finesse.  Here’s today’s strip, and I’ll be putting them up all this week.

(Note: as some readers have noted, although the strip is reproduced widely by others [including here], this deprives Trudeau of syndication money, or so I’m told.  So even if you look at the strip below, also click on the link above to make sure the artist gets the “click credit”.)

As MSNBC reports, some papers will probably pull this strip because it’s controversial:

Around a dozen U.S. newspapers have raised questions about an abortion-related “Doonesbury” comic strip set for publication next week, and some will likely not run it, the syndicate behind the cartoon said on Friday.

The cartoon’s story line for…

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