One of our team wrote to Steve McCabe MP to ask for advice and support regarding our work to increase awareness of the proposed changes. They received the following response.
“I am assuming you are a constituent and that’s why you’ve contacted me regarding the issue of a Kings Heath Multi Academy Trust although unfortunately I don’t appear to have your address and therefore can’t confirm you are a constituent. As you will know Queensbridge School is not in my Selly Oak constituency and it’s a bit difficult for me to intervene in this matter, not least because the new Parliamentary Constituency review has commenced and there are strict Labour Party rules about MPs not intervening on issues in neighbouring constituencies during the period of the review.
I am aware that Queensbridge is a very good school and that Tim Boyes, the Head who also leads on the Birmingham Education Partnership, is regarded as an excellent Headmaster. I am also aware that it is government policy to pursue an academisation project for all schools and if local head teachers in the Kings Heath area are meeting to discuss the potential of a Multi Academy Trust, it might be because they have concluded that this model could best protect the ethos of the schools they represent and may also be the best way to secure resources. At a time of very confused messages on education with the government pursuing a policy of academisation, free schools and an, as yet unclear policy, for future grammar schools it would be wise of head teachers to look at the best available models to protect their schools. As a Member of Parliament who has Baverstock School in my constituency I have seen first-hand the perils of schools which adopt the Single Academy Trust Model. I am also aware of the dangers of schools being allocated to an existing chain which is an option the government retains.
Obviously if the approach you and other members of your group want to adopt is a model of resistance to academisation, then that is a choice and there may be many people who will support that aim. I suspect it may result in failure as I believe the government are determined on their strategy and have given clear instructions to Regional Schools Commissioners. I also worry that it may consume a lot of energy that could be better used in trying to raise standards and performance in our schools. I’d suggest that it would be useful for parents to meet with Tim Boyes to discuss their concerns but I well understand if you intend to adopt a different approach.
I hope this is helpful in outlining my initial attitude to this news.
If you are a constituent and wish to raise this further with me, do let me have your address.
Steve McCabe MP
Birmingham, Selly Oak”