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Parents' plea as 'outstanding' schools consider academy conversion

Kings Heath schools confirm consultation but deny 'done deal' claims

Colmore Infant and Junior school, in Kings Heath

Concerned parents are calling for two "outstanding" Birmingham schools to reconsider plans to convert to academies

Staff at Colmore Infant and Nursery School and neighbouring Colmore Junior School, in Kings Heath, which have both received the top grade from Ofsted inspectors, announced they were considering converting in December.

But parents formed the action group Ask Colmore Parents to demand further consultation and accused the schools of being "undemocratic" and "underhand" in their methods, claiming they had released incorrect information, including whether or not they had applied for a conversion grant.

The parents were also concerned the schools had engaged the services of a consultancy company which specialised in academy conversion, leading to speculation it was a "done deal".

Corinne Fowler, whose son is in year one at Colmore Infant School, attended the schools as a child and her mother taught there.

She said: "The school has made many unfortunate errors during the consultation process and inaccurate information has been provided to parents but not subsequently corrected.

"This has been acknowledged by heads and governors in face-to-face conversations but not in written communications with parents. It's not democratic and it's underhand."

Fellow parent Mark Raychell, who has a son in year six, said: "Once education comes out of the local authority, there's a question of accountability. I've spoken to several people who are thinking about sending their children to Colmore who said they don't want their children to go to an academy."

Chair of governors for both schools Lorne Pearcey said a detailed consultation document would be available before the next public meeting on May 21.

She said: "Having been approached to consider academy status, the school has prioritised taking on board views of parents. We believe an open and transparent process is in place.

"Consultation has been ongoing since December and has included inviting written comments and questions from parents, open meetings with parents and a survey to gauge parents' views.

"The governing body has repeatedly confirmed that no conversion grant has been applied for and that no decision on whether to progress with conversion to academy status has been made. Any suggestions of a 'done deal' are not helpful to this process."

 

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