Bournville Secondary School Head Teacher Personal Statement

A struggling Birmingham secondary schools plans to close its sixth form and take on primary pupils as it battles mounting debts and dwindling student numbers.

Bournville School & Sixth Form Centre, which was plunged into special measures by Ofsted two years ago, is set to axe 14 jobs as it fights to reduce debts of £750,000.

The school has seen its pupil numbers plummet, with just 843 currently on its register across Years 7 to 13 - a staggering shortfall of 457 students needed to reach its full capacity of 1,300 children.

Now the school, which converted to an academy a year ago and is part of the respected Fairfax Multi-Academy Trust, is proposing radical steps to turn its fortunes around.

In collaboration with Birmingham City Council, the trust has launched an eight-week consultation over plans to turn it into an "all-through" school.

The changes, if given the green light, will see the sixth form centre close while the school will begin taking on pupils as young as four years old.

The sixth form will close over a two-year period by July 2018 - leaving none of its Year 12 and 13 pupils at risk of not being able to complete their A-Levels.

Meanwhile, the first cohort of 60 reception pupils will start in September 2016.

Existing empty classrooms would be converted into primary school facilities and the school would reach full capacity of almost 1,500 pupils across all years from reception to Year 11 by 2022.

Headteacher Nicola Gould said the school had "no choice" to make 14 staff redundant and insisted the job cuts were not linked to the proposals to close the sixth form or create an all-through school.

She added: "We are currently over-staffed while our pupil numbers are falling. We have the same level of staffing we would have if we were at full capacity which we are not.

"We have to deal with it to ensure our books are balanced and we are cost effective."

She said the school was in consultation with teaching unions NASUWT and NUT over the cuts which would include teaching and non-teaching posts.

Mrs Gould added the school was in an area saturated with colleges and sixth forms - citing this year's opening of the new highly regarded University of Birmingham School as a further blow to Bournville's numbers.

And she said the school only had 74 pupils across Years 12 & 13 - 176 fewer than its capacity of 250 students.

"We get £4,000 per student but it costs £7,300 to provide their education so we are having to take money from the lower school to supplement the sixth form," she explained.

"Closing the sixth form is not something we want but unless more people actively choose to come to join it we have no choice."

Meanwhile, the council has identified the Selly Oak constituency as one with a shortage of primary places.

Mrs Gould said: "My dream for Bournville is to provide world-class education. In order to provide that we have to take stepping stones to get there.

"The all-through school will help us to secure our future and ensure we can deliver our ethos and vision."

She said the school would recruit primary school teachers while using existing staff to provide "exceptional" classes in music, languages and science.

However, the news has been met with anger from teachers, students and residents alike - with an online petition to "save Bournville sixth form" clocking up almost 300 signatures.

On the petition, Natalie Rowles wrote: "I believe that Fairfax Academy is intent on destroying the heart of Bournville by making staff redundant and getting rid of the well established sixth form."

Lisa Jones added: "The name and traditions of Bournville School, its staff and its pupils have been treated very shoddily over the last few years with a lot of undeserved upheaval.

"Bournville has had enough upheaval and a rethink about this whole proposal is needed."

A consultation meeting is set to be held for residents at the school at 6pm on Tuesday and the consultation ends on December 18.

Bournville is a traditional school with a proud history, part of Fairfax Multi-Academy Trust, where we strive to develop ambitious, articulate resilient learners, regardless of background, with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to excel in modern Britain.  

We have 5 core values and beliefs at Bournville:

  • Ambition
  • Dedication
  • Integrity
  • Excellence
  • Tradition

As a team, we relentlessly pursue excellence. Every day. For every child. We are a school built on high standards and traditional values of courtesy, manners and respect. We are a group of dedicated professionals who go the extra mile and encourage students to see that there is dignity in hard work. We want the very best for our students and challenge them to have the ambition and drive to shape and change their own and others' lives. 

We want our students to be confident, responsible citizens who have an understanding of themselves and the world around them; we encourage them to make a positive contribution to the school and to their local communities to prepare them for life in modern Britain. 

We look forward to your application to join our family.

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