Category Archives: Constituency news
Here’s the Council’s response to the Secretary of States’ statement in the House of Commons which I talked about in my last post:
‘Cllr Brigid Jones said: “Birmingham City Council has been calling for some time now for the Department for Education to accept the failings in both the department and its academies, and publish a plan to address them, as we have with ours. I am pleased to see this Secretary of State now doing so. Parents of children in academies, which answer directly to the DfE, need confidence that failings in those academies will be taken as seriously by the DfE as we have taken the failings in ours. On that note, however, I must again express my disappointment that the Department for Education’s recent review of its own actions was undertaken internally. Birmingham City Council submitted itself some time ago to extensive independent external review on this issue, and to command the confidence of parents I believe the DfE should have done the same.”
A huge amount of work has been done at Birmingham City Council since the allegations first arose. While there is still more work to be done it is important to stress that the small number of governors involved in the initial allegations have been long since removed. We have taken swift and firm action in tackling issues in our maintained schools where necessary. Our progress continues to be monitored and driven by a fortnightly meeting which includes the Chief Executive, Leader of the Council, and our Education Commissioner.
We have already strengthened our governor appointments and training process and have launched a new whistleblowing policy across the council that should give people greater confidence in our ability to respond to future concerns, from both staff and the public. This covers all schools, including academies and free schools, and has a monitoring mechanism to ensure all complaints are followed through.
We continue to be committed to developing the Birmingham Education Partnership and have invested in additional capacity to support this. We are working hard to build a new relationship with schools and a new way of doing business and welcome the extension to Sir Mike Tomlinson’s appointment and the role he is playing in brokering this.
Regarding Saltley school, we had recognised the problems there before the allegations broke; indeed we first applied to install an interim executive board in xxx. Following DfE permission to do this we have provided effective challenge and support to the school’s leaders. The IEB has a good oversight of the school’s work and regularly and robustly check the progress that is being made against the areas for improvement. The work of Washwood Heath in supporting the school has been invaluable.
All our children must have access to a broad, balanced and progressive education which will prepare them for life as citizens a diverse city and society. We believe it is important that the need for a national debate as to what constitutes this isn’t lost amid a scramble to shore up structures.’
The House of Commons heard an update from the Secretary of State for Education on progress in implementing the recommendations contained in Peter Clarke’s report on Birmingham schools.
I was present to represent the parents and schools of Hodge Hill. You can see my words below.
“I welcome the Secretary of State’s statement and her offer of additional resources to Park View school to get the teachers who are needed. I know that she would want to recognise a number of parents, including Sabina Kauser, Waheed Saleem and Arshad Malik, who helped to rebuild the governance along with Adrian Packer, Bev Mabey and the extraordinary group of teachers who came in to help restore the schools and ensure that, thanks to their work over the summer, they opened on time in September.
I very much welcome the emphasis that the Secretary of State put on the teaching of British values, in particular democracy and the rule of law. She will agree, I know, that it is important that we practise what we preach. It was therefore regrettable that parent members of the trust were not able to be elected by parents at the school. Instead, the trust took a decision to go through the most mind-bending process of selection to hand-pick parents to serve at trust level. I hope she will now encourage the trust to revisit that decision and ensure that democracy prevails.”
The whole debate is available here.
More developments on our local schools this week. The Trustees of Birmingham’s Park View Educational Trust (PVET) have announced their decision that Golden Hillock School joins the Ark network in September 2015.
As an Ark school, Golden Hillock will remain non-selective, non-denominational and mixed. Current pupils and staff will automatically transfer to the new school. Golden Hillock will remain very much part of the family of Birmingham schools but will also benefit from strong links with the wider Ark network
The BBC News have covered the move; see here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-31009181
Today I met with Waheed Saleem, the Chair of Park View School with Cllr Ansar Ali Khan on Friday and I was pleased to hear the considerable progress that has been made in both Nansen and Park View Schools.
I am pleased that both Waheed and Adrian Packer the Executive Principal have made the commitment of meeting with the parents regularly to update them on work they are doing to improve the educational experience of the pupils and to hear their concerns and issues. It was good to hear that the school has appointed several members of senior staff and classroom teachers to support the pupils, including Dr Rashida Sharif the new interim Head at Nansen, Marie Luise Morgan and David Birch, acting Assistant Principals at Park View School. Adrian is also progressing plans to bring a new interim Principal to Park View and has significantly strengthened the leadership team. Waheed held staff surgeries at Park View recently and was noted that staff morale was improving and that students were continuing to make progress in line with their academic targets.
The schools have put in extra help for Year 11 and Year 6 pupils to help them with their GSCE exams and SATs tests, including evening and weekend classes with experienced teachers. Park View also continues to develop its Accelerated Reader programme, which supports literacy and improves vocabulary. Waheed explained the range of extra curricular activities that are being offered to students including Yr 11 Community Leaders Programme providing leadership skills to students that will give them extra edge in applying for colleges and university places, meeting with Prince William to celebrate the work of the Feast Project, whole school concert and work experience practise interviews.
I raised the issue of community use of the sport facilities at the School and Waheed has reassured me that the improvement works are being scheduled and that the community will soon be able to access these facilities again.
With all best wishes
Notice of Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust’s application for foundation Status – 23rd January 2015
I am attaching a letter from Martin Smith, Director of Provider Appraisal at Monitor, letting you know that Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust has been referred to Monitor to begin its assessment process to become a foundation trust.
As always, I am happy to feed in your views as Constituents. If you do have any concerns you wish to bring to their attention, I would be grateful if you could get in touch with me by 15th Feb 2015.
I received this letter from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.
As you can see there are still more opportunities to get involved with the consultation process about the reconfiguration of the surgery.
There are several different ways you can access all the details of the proposals, the latest information and give your feedback:
- Website: www.heartofengland.nhs.uk/surgery-reconfiguration
- Email: email@example.com
- Dedicated telephone no: (0121) 424 3838
- Twitter: @heartofenglandBirmingham Heartlands Hospital
Many of you will have read, in my Winter Newsletter, about the three constituency wide residents meeting that I will be holding between now and the election. They’re on the 3 big issues residents tell me are most important – and I want to hear what you think needs to change in the years ahead.
· Fighting for more and better jobs, especially for our young people who need more to do
· Battling for a better NHS which residents feel is under real pressure. We need it to be world class, especially for our kids and older residents who have paid in for a lifetime
· And of course, changing our immigration system, which I’ve always talked about as long as I’ve been a MP
The first of these is this coming Saturday 24 January from 11:00 – 12:30 at St Margarets Heritage Hall. Details below.
Saturday 24 January 2015 11:00 – 12:30
Immigration: What needs to change?
Venue: St Margarets Heritage Hall, St Margarets Road B8 2BA
I hope you can join me for the first of these exciting opportunities to discuss the issues that really matter to us.
I look forward to seeing you on Saturday.
With all best wishes
PS. Details for the remaining two meetings are below:
Saturday 14 February 2015 11:00 – 12:30
NHS and Social Care: What’s the service we need in the 21st century for patients and carers?
Venue: The Beaufort Sports and Social Club, Coleshill road B36 8DX
Saturday 21 March 2015 11:00 – 12:30
New Jobs, Fair Pay, Fair Taxes – and Fair Tax Credits!
Venue: Shard End Community Centre, Packington Avenue B34 7RD
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Liam Byrne MP
Birmingham Hodge Hill
35a Coleshill Road
Birmingham, B36 8DT
I thought I’d share with you the letter I sent to Roger Hargreaves of HS2, in regard to the HS2 ‘Plan B’ for Washwood Heath.
All the best,
Byrne welcomes HS2 Committee call for Plan B at Washwood Heath
Liam Byrne MP has welcomed a major breakthrough in the battle for jobs at the LDV-Alstom site earmarked for a marshalling yard.
Following a major campaign led by Liam Byrne MP. The HS2 Bill Committee has ordered the Government and HS2 Ltd to change their plans to maximise the number of jobs on the site.
Although the committee has not ordered the marshalling yard to be moved, the committee have ordered HS2 to report on how they will work with site owners.
The proposed site is the size of 100 football pitches and makes up one third of the industrial land in Birmingham.
It lies at the junction of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill – these three constituencies are together home to 45% of the City’s unemployed.
The site owners, together with Liam Byrne MP, have now submitted a ‘Plan B’ proposal that would see 2,334 jobs be created.
Liam Byrne MP said:
“This is a real breakthrough. The HS2 Committee has heard our call for jobs. Now HS2 Ltd must work with us on a Plan B that could see 2,334 jobs created in the inner city.”
Lorely Burt MP for Solihull said today:
“I have long argued for jobs to be protected at Washwood Heath whilst also being conscious of not damaging UK Central’s prospects for delivery. The Select Committee’s decision on Washwood Heath is quite obviously a ‘win-win-win’. A win for the people of Washwood Heath, Solihull and also HS2. Now we need HS2 to engage fully with all interested parties to deliver the 2300 private sector jobs set out in the alternative plans referred to by the Committee plus the 600+ new railway jobs as soon as possible.”
Caroline Spelman MP for Meriden said today:
“The decision from the Select Committee is common sense in action in relation to the Washwood Heath site. This is a win-win situation where HS2 get to build some of the infrastructure they need while the rest of the site can be used to create many more jobs, without needing to displace the marshalling yards into my constituency. HS2 should now engage and respond positively to the AXA proposals. Anything less would not be in accordance with the Select Committee’s wishes.”
Notes to editors:
Statement from Robert Syms MP (Chairman, HS2 Select Committee) dated 16th December 2014:
“On Washwood Heath, we were impressed by the submission from AXA and our colleague Liam Byrne and we sympathise with the need to address high unemployment in and around his constituency. We do not believe there is enough evidence to support a move of the RSMD from Washwood Heath. We impress on HS2 the need to adjust the scheme so there is minimum land take and for the shortest time … We expect to hear from HS2 on that and on whether they can reach agreement on that taking account of the more recent AXA proposals which are dated 12th December.”