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Volume 620: debated on Monday 23 January 2017


Monday 23 January 2017



Baverstock Academy

The petition of residents of Birmingham Selly Oak constituency,

Declares that Baverstock Academy should not be closed.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take action to save Baverstock Academy.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Steve McCabe, Official Report, 14 December 2016; Vol. 618, c. 921.]


Observations from the Minister for School Standards (Mr Nick Gibb):

The Baverstock Academy went into Special Measures in September 2014. The Department acted quickly to provide support to the academy’s senior leadership team and local governing body, monitoring attainment and progress closely.

When financial irregularities were uncovered in November 2015, the EFA issued the trust with a ‘Financial Notice to Improve’ (FNtl). The FNtl established that the Trust did not have the capacity to address the educational and financial issues at the school and the trust, on request of the Department, appointed an interim academy board in December 2015.

In June 2016 the LEAP Academy Trust submitted a special resolution to the Department for Education recommending that the Secretary of State terminate the funding agreement for the Baverstock Academy and allow the school to close.

Over the summer holidays and autumn term, officials worked to find a new sponsor for the school in order to allow the academy to continue. A number of high-profile sponsors considered the proposal, but after conducting their due diligence, they confirmed that the educational and financial issues affecting the school were too difficult to guarantee improvement and were therefore unwilling to take the school on.

Ofsted’s latest report published on 23 November 2016 confirms that the school remains in Special Measures. The Under-Secretary of State for the school system has considered all options and is now minded to close the Baverstock Academy.

There will now be a period of four weeks where we invite parents and members of staff to submit their views on the closure, ending on 7 February. We invite the petitioners to make their views known to the office of the Regional Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands through this process. All responses will be considered before a final decision is made on the future of the Baverstock Academy.

The Department will ensure that children’s education is not disrupted and will work with the LEAP Academy Trust and the local authority to identify alternative places for students where needed.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Norfolk Island

The petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that on behalf of residents of Norfolk Island, there is an identified historical, cultural, legal and constitutional relationship which Norfolk Island and the Norfolk Island people have celebrated since 1856 with the United Kingdom and the British people.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges Her Majesty’s Government to support the people of Norfolk Island to be able to uphold their right of self-determination in accordance with the United Nation’s Charter specific to decolonisation and humbly request the same right of self-determination as afforded to the people of the British Overseas territories.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Andrew Rosindell, Official Report, 23 November 2016; Vol. 617, c. 1001.]


Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Alok Sharma):

Norfolk Island has been a Territory of the Commonwealth of Australia since 1914 and its governance is a matter for that country.


Road safety in Southampton Itchen

The petition of residents of Southampton Itchen,

Declares that there should be road safety measures introduced at the junction of Spring Road and Station Road in Southampton, after a series of road traffic accidents that have occurred in recent months.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges Southampton City Council to review the safety at the Spring Road and Station Road junction and outline what actions it plans to undertake to ensure the safety of road and pedestrian users; and further that the council confirm the timeframe for implementing those changes.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Royston Smith, Official Report, 13 December 2016; Vol. 618, c. 762.]


Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Andrew Jones):

Local authorities are responsible for road safety on the local road network. Section 39 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 puts a statutory duty on the local authorities to deliver an appropriate road safety education service and for the provision of a safe local road network. This includes road construction, accident investigation and analysis, traffic calming, setting speed limits and facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. It is up to individual authorities to determine how they meet their “statutory duty”.

Traffic calming can be an effective way to reduce speed and improve road safety. It is for individual highway authorities to decide, in consultation with the local community, whether a particular road needs treatment and if so, the most suitable features to use. There are a wide range of traffic calming measures to choose from, including road humps, rumble devices (strips or areas), narrowings, build outs and chicanes. It would be inappropriate for the Government to intervene as this is a matter for the democratically accountable local authority.

The Department’s advice to highway authorities on the design and effectiveness of traffic calming measures is given in Local Transport Note 1/07: Traffic Calming. This brings together a summary of the research commissioned by DfT and other organisations, to provide advice on the use of traffic calming measures. It covers relevant legislation and the design, effectiveness and installation of measures. It is available from the Department’s website at: