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Birmingham historian Prof Carl Chinn taken on by city school

Popular academic and Mail columnist to help A-level students at Perry Beeches Academy after being axed by BBC.

Carl Chinn

Birmingham's best-loved historian is back in front of audience after being unceremoniously dumped by the BBC.

Mail columnist Prof Carl Chinn has been taken on by the city’s Perry Beeches Academy to help A-level students and guide younger pupils in discovering their roots.

The popular academic was dropped from his Sunday show on BBC WM in June after 20 years on air amid claims he was considered “too expensive” at £270 per programme.

But executive head Liam Nolan moved quickly to secure Carl, who will spend around a day-and-a-half a week at the new Perry Beeches II site in Birmingham city centre.

Carl, who is also a lecturer at the University of Birmingham , told the Mail: “It’s very exciting and it gives me a chance to learn as well.

“I’ll be teaching but to be able to learn from the young people as well is a thrilling prospect.

“Liam approached me, he’d been on my show and we hit it off.

“We’re both from the same background and we’re both passionate that education is an opportunity that needs to be opened up to the working classes.”

Carl’s part-time role will include a project to build a picture of younger students’ family histories.

“Everyone has a story to tell,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll build up a picture of how we call came to be sharing this space and how we’re all Brummies and this is our city.”

Carl, a professor of Birmingham community history, said he received more than 700 letters and emails of support from the public after he was dropped by the BBC.

“I was humbled by the support people showed me,” he said.

“It was never about me, it was always ‘our show’ and I think the strength of feeling shows people felt they had lost something really local.”

Mr Nolan said: “The BBC’s loss is our gain. The fact they dumped Carl and we’ve gained him is a win-win for us.

“We’re excited and delighted to have him on board. Outstanding schools find people who add value and Carl does just that.”

Mr Nolan has transformed the fortunes of Perry Beeches, which was once one of Birmingham’s worst-performing schools.

It is now considered “outstanding” by Ofsted and a third branch of the school was opened by the Prime Minister and education secretary Michael Gove earlier this month.

 

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