Category Archives: Bordesley Green
Over the last few weeks, the council, Ofsted and I have been working intensely to make sure the leadership issues at Saltley are dealt with openly – and rapidly.
Ofsted made an unannounced inspection the other day, issued a very stiff sets of demands for immediate action and it is now for the governors to respond with an plan.
Officials from Birmingham City Council met the school governors at length on Wednesday night to ensure everyone is clear about their obligations – and any failure to address the Ofsted report will trigger a follow-up investigation very, very swiftly.
Saltley is a great school – and a safe school. The new refurbishment which we campaigned for hard, has created what I think is one of the best schools environments in the city; what’s more, as the recent Ofsted report found, the school is ranked ‘good’ – and with lots of excellent features. I visit the school a lot and parents need to know that I am determined to make sure we have truly excellent school leadership to match the ambitions to parents and pupils. And we will not settle for second best. The right process is now in hand – and we’ll make sure it runs its course fast.
Here’s the statement released by Birmingham City Council this week:
“We have worked continuously with both the head teacher and the governing body to address issues around the school including points raised by Ofsted this month. The head teacher is currently on leave and the school has a strong interim leadership. All parties are working together to ensure that the school not only remains ‘good’ but continues on its journey to ‘outstanding’.”
Any parents with concerns are very welcome to call me on 0121 789 7287.
Many thanks indeed for returning my survey over the summer with your comments – and your thoughts about my priorities for Bordesley Green. We received hundreds of replies from across the constituency and I thought you’d like to know what everyone said! Local Priorities First of all, here’s what people said should be my top three local priorities;
- A better NHS
- Fighting drugs, and
- More local jobs
Here’s what I’ll be doing next.
1. A better NHS: I’m really worried that the government is starving our local hospital and doctors of the money needed to make sure there’s a good service – especially over the winter. So I’ll be meeting the hospital’s leaders to hear what plans they’ve got in place to make sure they’re serving our community well this winter. And I’ll be bringing together NHS and Council leaders to demand plans for better local health centres. Nationally, I’ll be campaigning to put patients first and use the money David Cameron is wasting on his damaging NHS reorganisation to protect 6,000 nursing jobs. We need to protect the NHS’ founding values, prevent postcode lotteries, guard against longer waits and put patients before profits
2. Fighting drugs: As a dad with three young kids here in Birmingham, tackling the scourge of drugs is something I feel very strongly about. I’ll be handing over to the police your reports on the 25 or so streets where drug-dealing is reported as a problem and I’ll be posting to my blog – liambyrne.co.uk – regular reports on the local crime situation. I’ll meet local police chiefs to demand action where you’ve said there’s a problem – and I plan to ask the leaders of West Midlands Police what more we can do to tackle the organised crime gangs that we know are behind this business.
3. More local jobs: I’ve been campaigning for land to create 5-6,000 local jobs on the old LDV-Alstom site in the constituency. But, I’ve now started talks with the City about how we do far more to support local small businesses, and how we bring forward plans to get more jobs on the old Birmingham Wheels site too. We can’t have derelict land lying around, when we have so many local people who need jobs.
Making the benefits system work better I also asked a lot of questions about how we should make the benefits system much fairer. Across the constituency, 80% said we should link what you get out to what you put in. Here’s what people thought were the priority changes.
I’ll be presenting these findings to our party nationally so that we can present the right plans at the next election for reform. Lots of people have put an awful lot into the system. I think its only fair that the system changes so they can more back out. Especially when they need it. So, many thanks for getting in touch with me. I really appreciate your feedback – and if you’d like to stay in touch by email, and receive my regular email newsletter, just drop me a line at email@example.com
RT HON LIAM BYRNE MP
Birmingham Hodge Hill
Many thanks to everyone to came along to our school-gate surgery at St Benedict’s School, and our residents meeting at Small Heath Leisure Centre a few weeks ago- or returned a questionnaire!
We’ve identified several issues on which to take action:
1. Rubbish. Lots of complaints about this. There were also complaints about bulky rubbish now being dumped in gardens; businesses on Coventry Road illegally dumping rubbish, and an associated problem with rates. Our councillors have been organising community clear-ups to help and in addition, we’ll be pushing the case for early arrival of wheelie-bins.
2. Parking. This was seen as a really bad problem around the school – and there was strong demand for a one way system to stop the chaos of two way traffic in tight streets. We’ll investigate what can be done here
3. Drug dealing. This was generally seen as a problem in the area. So we’ll make sure police know this is a local priority, along with reports of prostitution on the corner of Dora Rd and St Oswalds Road.
4. Tree pruning. Again, long overdue. We’ll check schedule and ask for action.
5. Small Heath Park and lack of things for young people to do. Again, this was seen as a big problem. We’ll raise the issue of park cleanliness and continue to campaign for more for your young people in the area.
We’ll keep you updated.
If you would like to go onto Liam’s email newsletter data base, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Two weeks ago, PC Adam Koch was badly injured as he acted together with worshipers to disarm a man attacking others at the Rogers’ Road mosque. Thankfully Adam is safe and others hurt are recovering.
To say thank you, I have decided to compete in the City of Birmingham Triathlon in Sutton Park on Sunday 21st July, to raise money for the charity that helps policemen and women hurt in the line of duty, and their families. The West Midlands Police Benevolent Fund distributes money to both serving and retired officers who find themselves suffering financial hardship and in need of assistance.
PC Adam Koch showed immense bravery in the line of duty protecting our community. Ever since I was elected I’ve campaigned for more help for our police teams; the men and women who tackle the poison of drugs, help us and keep our children safe.
I want to show how much I and the people of Birmingham appreciate the work of West Midland Police Force. It’s one small way we can say thank you to those who will do anything and everything to keep us safe.
You can donate by emailing your pledge to email@example.com or sending a cheque payable to the West Midlands Police Benevolent Fund, care of Liam’s office at the House of Commons.
Cllr Mohammed Aikhlaq, along with schoolchildren from Bordesley Green Girls School, Al Hijrah School, members of the Bordesley Green Detached Project, and residents from the Bordesley Green Forum visited war memorial sites in France and Belgium.
They paid tribute to the sacrifice of the soldiers from the Indian sub-continent in the First and Second World Wars.
After laying wreaths at both the Indian War Memorial in France and the Menin Gate in Belgium, Cllr Mohammed Aikhlaq said “it is important that those great sacrifices of all our communities made during the two World Wars are recognised and paid tribute to”.
On Friday, Labour party members met for one of our regular discussions – and this month we focused on the constituency priorities for the years ahead. Soon, the Labour council will be devolving new powers to the district, and we will have a district convention in December to hear local residents’ priorities. So Labour party members met to have a think about how we see the future.
Here’s what members had to say.
In Hodge Hill ward, we felt the priority had to be jobs and employment. We felt there was a big opportunity to bring thousands of local jobs by having the old LDV-Alstom site developed for jobs, and not as a marshalling yard of High Speed 2. If we are successful in this campaign, then the priority will become ensuring that local people have the skills to do the jobs. That means making sure that there are local employment agreements in place with new employers, and it means making sure that schools and colleges are working together to help train local people for local opportunities.
Second, we felt that security, crime and anti-social behaviour was a priority. We were deeply worried about the impact of cuts on local police numbers and we felt that cuts would make the crime situation worse. Equally, we felt that good facilities were needed for local young people to make sure that they had something to do, other than hang around on the streets.
Third, local play areas for local residents and their children is a big priority, especially on green spaces on the Brockhurst, Firs and in Ward End.
Fourth, we have a serious problem with parking and speeding on a number of roads. Road safety measures which have been installed aren’t really doing the job and we need to look to new solutions. There is a particularly acute problem around a number of local schools.
In Shard End ward, members felt that housing inequalities were a major concern, as were health inequalities. On housing, we noted that lots of residents live in blocks and lack appropriate accommodation. Many will be hit by the government’s change to housing benefit which will cut into residents’ income. Average life expectancy for both men and women was lower than the national average. That demands investment in health services for the area. Jobs, were a priority too, in particular making sure that training was available for new jobs that might be created around the airport, especially for those not in education, employment and training. We need to make sure that GCSE results continue to improve for local youngsters. New facilities were needed at Hallmoor School.
It was felt that more street wardens were important, not least to help promote better exploitation of the Cole Valley. A campaign was needed to drive up unclaimed benefits, which are available.
In Washwood Heath, education and employment were seen as the major issues. In particular, primary school were oversubscribed, and class sizes were expanding above the level of 30 students to a class. Space outside for play was limited. Teaching assistants were being taken out of schools, and this was stopping teachers providing extra help for children; together these problems were stopping the ward’s children from reaching their potential.
This challenge is precluding local young people from securing good quality jobs. The lack of local jobs accentuated the problem. We need local jobs and we need training to make sure that young people secured these jobs. But raising education standards from primary school onwards is the key to long term change.
Third, housing and parking are both issues and are linked. They’re simply aren’t enough bedrooms for local families and because families cannot afford to move house, several generations are forced to live under the same roof. This creates over-crowding and this in turn contributes to challenges keeping the local environment clean. It also makes parking and traffic difficult as families and children will often have a car of their own.
Fourth, health services are generally weak; there is a whole host of chronic disease problems in the area which are well known (such as type 2 diabetes) but there are few proactive, actively managed public health interventions to tackle them. The lack of strategic intervention is also a challenge for schools where good school nutrition and exercise are essential requirements.
In Bordesley Green, there are many of the challenges identified in Washwood Heath; there is a lack of employment and therefore a need to create local jobs for local people. There is a need to upskill local residents so that they are able to take the jobs which do exist.
School standards too remain an acute concern. Many are judged outstanding, but overall, exam results need to be better.
Third, there is big appetite to create a safe, secure and drug-free environment.
Poor housing and health are priorities that the ward shares with others; again, the poor economic status of local residents is a big contributor to this problem. Chronic diseases are widespread. And like other wards, there is a lack of well-organised strategic intervention to tackle this.
Local residents are up in arms to learn that the Tory-Lib Dem government has handed Britain’s millionaires a £40,000 tax cut, while part time workers have had their tax credits slashed.
The Lib Dem Tory budget ordered a big cash handout for Britain’s richest citizens – yet took money away from the poorest.
Anyone working 16 hours loses ALL their tax credits unless they can find more hours.
And in April, cuts to help for families goes up by £6 billion as help with housing and council tax bills is taken away.
Worst of all, many disabled people will lose the allowances they need to cover the extra bills they face.
MP Liam Byrne voted against the plans in Parliament:
“I simply can’t see how its right for the richest people to get a tax cut – and the poorest workers get money taken away. These Tories and their Lib Dem friends simply care only for the rich not the ordinary family”.
I’m taking direct action to help get local young people into work. I’ve bought together JobCentrePlus, Enterprising Communities, Birmingham businesses and training providers for a massive jobs summit for local young people.
Hodge Hill has the highest rate of youth unemployment in Britain – long term youth unemployment up 57% in the last year.
So I’m holding a massive jobs summit where real employers with real vacancies will meet local unemployed youngsters and there will be opportunities to talk to experts about accessing support and funding to set up their own business and a jobs board with help to set up interviews.
Local young entrepreneurs who have already succeeded in business will be on hand to inspire and motivate and offer help with CVs and networking.
I will be personally introducing young people to employers and will be joined by Sarish Jabeen, the local apprentice I took on in 2008 and who is now a full time constituency caseworker.
Our community is packed with potential. We’ve got hundreds of young people hungry for work. All of us have got to roll our sleeves up and do whatever it takes to get these young people on the road to a job.
We have some of the highest youth unemployment figures in our area. This is not right.
That’s why I’m inviting employers with real vacancies plus support for setting up your own business and apprenticeship matching schemes to meet our great young people and help get them back to work.’
If you’re 18-24, live in the constituency and are unemployed please come along to Beaufort Sports and Social Club, 89 Coleshill Road, B36 8DX on 19th July 10.30-1.30pm. Attendees on the day will be entered into a prize draw to win an ipad courtesy of UK Mail.
Just after I made my announcement that I’d stand for mayor yesterday, I was straight off to Bordesley Green to go and see some of the results of a huge campaign against drugs and drug-dealing. This has been the the key local issue we’ve pressed the police for – and yesterday we saw just how aggressively our brilliant local police have taken action; seized assets from drug-dealers crushed in front of the public.
It was excellent too, that we had a host of pupils from Waverley School to look on. One of the reasons I’ve fought so hard for tougher action against drugs is that young people saw to me, that when they see drug-dealing going on it makes them feel scared – and fearful of just where they can go – and where they can’t. That’s not the kind of city we want to bring up our kids in.
Here’s a brilliant video of the day from the Birmingham Mail. Well done to the West Midlands Police – more please!
One of the most exciting developments in Bordesley Green is the new Waverley School – already outstanding but I think even more is possible when the move goes ahead. I’m really keen to see a new relationship between the school and the hospital help unlock the potential of the Belchers Lane site. I’d love to see new car parking to get cars off the street – and ideally a new way for Waverley’s students to develop their skills and potentially doing work experience and more at the hospital – which has ambitious plans to house all of its teaching services on the Heartlands space. It may even be possible for new sixth form provision to grow at the site.