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House of Commons Hansard
23 January 2017
Volume 620

    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.]

    [P001999]

    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.