Protesters meet over academy plan for Stourbridge school

Parents and teaching staff packed into a public meeting rallying against plans to convert a Stourbridge secondary school into an academy.

Paula Roe, Sarah Banton, Sue Lowe at the meeting
Paula Roe, Sarah Banton, Sue Lowe at the meeting

Around 40 people turned up for the debate on the proposals for Redhill School last night at the Duke William pub, in Coventry Street.

Among those who spoke out against the academy plans was teacher Paula Roe, who has been at the school for 34 years. She said she did not believe it was the right choice for the school

Mrs Roe said morale amongst staff at Redhill School in Stourbridge was low because of the controversial proposals which she claimed would be detrimental to the school’s future.

She said she did not believe it had anything to gain by becoming an academy and the majority of staff were against the plans.

“I believe the teachers at Redhill are not opposed to change. They are always changing to ensure they are teaching in the most appropriate ways to ensure that every pupil achieves their potential and that’s what we will continue to do. We do not need to become an academy for that,” she said.

“The majority of staff are opposed to academy conversion. We haven’t heard a logical case for it.

“We don’t know what we’re going to gain from converting to an academy,” she added.

Mrs Roe, who is president of the NASUWT, Britain’s biggest teaching union, said she did not agree with academies saying they took the schools away from the community because they were no longer under local authority control.

“I am totally opposed to academies. They are detrimental to education.

“They narrow parental choice and remove the local authority as the safety net. This outstanding school would be removed from the community if academy status goes ahead,” she said.

Parent Sue Lowe, who has a daughter in Year 11, said: “I’ve joined the campaign because I cannot see what is broken at Redhill that needs fixing.”

On Saturday campaigners held a town centre demonstration against the plans while more than 400 signatures have been collected on a petition.

By Heather Large