The head teacher of the UK’s most improved school has said he has “no faith” in the city’s ability to lead Birmingham schools.
Liam Nolan, head teacher of Perry Beeches School in Great Barr, claimed there was “current state of failure and utter mayhem” in some city schools, and also accused the local authority of “playing political games” with his institution’s efforts to become an academy.
Mr Nolan has been credited with transforming the fortunes of Perry Beeches, which was threatened with closure just four years ago amid poor exam results and has since gone on to be named “most improved” school in the country.
The head made the claims in a letter, seen by the Birmingham Post, ending his involvement with the authority’s School Improvement Board, which is tasked with driving up standards and supporting city schools.
His claims were strongly refuted as “totally inaccurate” by council education chief Coun Les Lawrence, who insisted the authority worked to “give young people the education they deserve”.
Coun Lawrence also revealed that £2.1 million had been spent by the authority dealing with schools wanting to become academies.
In a resignation letter to the School Improvement Board, Mr Nolan said: “I have no faith in the new administration of Birmingham City Council’s children, young people and families services directorate to lead and support head teachers, schools and communities in the current state of failure in a number of city schools.
“From where we sit there is no honesty, transparency or ‘fair play’ in direct dealings with the strategic director.
“I am afraid I cannot, and will not, put my name or the great name of Perry Beeches School as representative of a local authority that I no longer trust.”
Perry Beeches was deemed to be failing by Ofsted four years ago, when just 21 per cent of students were achieving five A*- C GCSE grades including maths and English.
The GCSE pass rate soared to 75 per cent following last week’s results.
An application made by the school to convert to academy status has been approved by the Department for Education, which will see the school move out of local authority control and have more freedom over its finances, the curriculum, and teachers’ pay and conditions.
In his letter, dated July 21, Mr Nolan also claimed the local authority “blocked” his school’s efforts to convert to academy status.
He said: “Perry Beeches has been working extremely hard to become a convertor academy and it appears at every step the officers of Birmingham City Council have blocked our progress.
“The honest, open, positive partnership I was led to believe existed is far from true.
“We have experienced officers who have blocked, pro-actively undermined, [have made] broken promises and played political games with our plans to meet a July 1 academy conversion deadline.”
There are now 22 academy schools in Birmingham, including six ‘traditional’ academies which needed the backing of a sponsor when established under the Labour government, and 16 schools which have converted to academy status, including Aston Manor School and Holyhead School in Handsworth.
Mr Nolan told the Birmingham Post: “Dealing with the authority has been a nightmare.
“It has taken hours of work by staff and more than £40,000 in legal costs arguing legal points such as access and car parking, money that should be spent on the children.