Our education system is going from strength to strength. In Birmingham, school performance has improved sharply and increasing numbers of young people are leaving school with qualifications.
But challenges remain.
Standards in too many of our secondary schools - often those serving more deprived communities - are too low. Despite the best efforts of heads, teachers and parents, the pattern of poor results and low aspirations has often proved hard to shift.
Persistent underachievement serves no one. To end it, radical solutions are needed. That is why the Government is enabling academies to be developed in partnership with local communities.
Academies are new independent state schools with a mission to transform educational opportunity. Each academy has a managing sponsor from the educational, business, faith or voluntary sectors.
Sponsors bring a track record of success and high aspiration and a long-term commitment to the success of the academy and its local community.
In Birmingham, sponsors with strong local credentials will work together across the city, to enhance opportunities.
There is already evidence of success. Academies have improved GCSE results at three times the national average.
This includes the West Midlands, where the Walsall Academy has seen GCSE results improve from 49 per cent gaining five or more good GCSEs in the predecessor school taken over by the academy to 66 per cent in the academy last year.
This has been achieved by an excellent head teacher and management team free to innovate.
The school day is longer, with extended half-day teaching sessions. Pupils are grouped by ability rather than age and studying is fitted to individual needs. Academies are popular with parents with nearly all of them over-subscribed. The former chief inspector of schools said progress was, in many cases, "remarkable".
But it is not just pupils at the academy who benefit. One of the aims of this programme is to spread their benefits more widely in a community.
Academies are working with other schools in their area to provide them with much needed support.
This is not just about creating a league of over-subscribed super schools - it is about improving standards for all.
Birmingham City Council wants to improve standards of education for all its pupils.
We strongly support their excellent plan to introduce seven new academies across the city, working alongside other schools, and we will provide the investment to make this possible.
Birmingham is England's second city and needs a first class education system.