Looking to the future – Schools event in Northfield


I attended the Education Schools Strategy day at King Edward VI School at Five Ways in February, and addressed the Leadership Teams of nine local secondary schools on the topic of ‘Building a vision for learning and employment in South West Birmingham’. The schools that took part in the meeting form the Edge Collegiate. They are

Shenley Court

Turves Green Girls’

Turves Green Boys’

Four Dwellings

Hunters Hill

Lordswood Girls’

King Edward VI Five Ways


Colmers School


In my speech to the head teachers I described how changes to the traditional economic structure of the area will continue to be altered by the ongoing regeneration of the South West of the City, and the importance of the role that the educational establishments will play in ensuring that young people in the area are equipped with the necessary skills to prosper and find employment.

I paid tribute to the hard work of the schools and their achievements in both academic and vocational qualifications. I also examined how the new opportunities that regeneration will present will transform the area and I looked at how existing schemes are helping to ensure that all residents are equipped with the ambition and skills necessary to find work, but also to continue to drive forward the regeneration of the area.

I welcomed the success of local schools in achieving specialist status in a range of subjects and their contribution to developing the talents of pupils. Individual achievement is also dependent on developing a strong community which both has the aspirations and the ability to achieve. The partnership approach shown by the heads of the nine schools through their ‘edge collegiate’ helps to foster these aspirations. In addition, the provision of good education provision and the attainment of results are dependent on regeneration, training, transport and the environment all being funded, and especially so when undergoing such a time of change as is South West Birmingham today.

The strategy day also heard speakers from Nottingham who described how partnership working between education and industry was helping boost skills in that area. The discussion that followed raised important issues on how to create parity of esteem between academic and vocational subjects, whilst recognising the different contribution that each can make, and the problems that over simplistic definitions of equivalence of different kinds of qualifications can have.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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