Given that I have criticised Birmingham City Council in the past for their hostility towards increased school choice it is only fair to acknowledge that the Conservative leader of this Con/Lib Dem council is now heralding a more progressive approach.
Birmingham City Council leader Cllr Mike Whitby hosted a visit to Birmingham today by the Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Cllr Whitby said:
“I am delighted to welcome the secretary of state, Michael Gove, to Birmingham today.
“Today is about making a clear commitment to the secretary of state, and to the people of Birmingham, that we believe Birmingham should – and will – be synonymous with educational excellence.
“We want all our children and young people to have the best education and will strive to eradicate under-performance in any of our schools. Looking particularly at the new tools and freedoms available to us, such as academies, free schools and university technical colleges – Birmingham is saying today that these exciting forms of provision will become an integral part of our approach to school improvement – where autonomy and school-to-school support combine to drive up standards.
“We know in Birmingham we have many examples of excellence when it comes to providing education, but equally we have a number of areas where we need to do better. With the support of the government, and the support of our schools, today I am saying we will do just that.”
Michael Gove said:
“I am delighted that Birmingham local authority is embracing the vital reforms that are taking place in our education system. Today’s statement from the Leader of the Council, Mike Whitby, shows a real passion and determination to create world-class schools in this great city, and to tackle underperformance head on.”
There is now a clear reason for parents to vote Conservative in the local elections in Birmingham this May- when a third of the seats are coming up for election and there is a serious of threat of Labour taking control. In the weeks and months ahead Birmingham needs to follow through on the rhetoric to make school choice a reality.