Birmingham is as much about governance as extremism

John Howson

There are at least two facets to the Birmingham story. One, mostly catching the headlines today, is about extremism; the other is about governance. Birmingham is our second largest city, with what looks like a generally centralised approach to governance from City Hall. Since most of the schools caught up in the row are academies, with only one apparently being a maintained school, Birmingham can claim ‘not our fault gov’ if you believe that academisation, started under Labour and pursued with vigour by Mr Gove, absolves a local authority from any involvement in the running of such schools. Personally, I don’t, but it shows what can happen when a system of education governance is systematically weakened over time by denigrating the role of one participant, in this case local authorities, and talking up the important of Whitehall.

When the discussions about how we educate our young people have subsided, and…

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