Friday 9 July 2010

People power - Kings Heath Primary

Friends from Stan's Cafe tweeted about last blog on Jenni Bee, in praise of Jenni Bee who also did dance at school fair, which reminded me how fantastic the parents are at Kings Heath, for organising an event like our school fete, but also my children's first real taste of protest and people power:

When KHP was identified as a school to go from three to four form entry, I didn't actually think we, as parents could do much - Colmore up the road had already accepted a move from three to four form entry as inevitable.  Luckily there were some parents who decided (independent of staff at school, although many were probably sympathetic) that we should stand up to our council and stop the planned expansion.

The campaign involved collecting signatures, an open letter to our council, a number of meetings , setting up a website, organising interviews with press and a playground protest.  Shortly after the protest, a slightly ambiguous statement was issued from Councillor Laurence to say they were  never seriously considering expansion at Kings Heath(?) - BBC Midlands covered the story and so did the Birmingham Post (which I now follow on Twitter - starting to get the hang of tweeting now!)

We had gone as a family to the protest, made our own banners, practiced the songs that had been made specially for the protest (Bob the builder - Can you build it, no you can't, and Tears for Fears classic Shout shout, let's kick it out!)  sang them along with guitar and megaphone someone had brought along, and showed our 'red cards' to the BBC people, and the builders.  Later on we heard some of the children had sung the songs for 'Show and Tell', one of which was our boy, Arthur.

It was strangely quite emotional seeing everyone out there protesting and obviously had an effect on our children.  What we'd all learned is we can make a difference and protest really can work.  Must make sure to get children out to a decent protest soon to keep enthusiasm going!

Shame from a later blog on 18th June Councillor Martin Mullaney (although titled expansion plans 'stopped') the council don't 'rule out expansion at Kings Heath at a later date'.

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