The Edge Academy Edges Closer


It will not be revealing too many trade secrets for me to say that I am not a big fan of the Government’s “free schools” programme. I put that in quotes because I think that a lot of what Michael Gove is doing to education in this country has very little to do with freedom. In many cases, the reverse is the reality.

However, one less well known approach to free schools comes from  “Alternative Provision” free schools. Here in South West Birmingham, a group of exciting schools have come together to develop that approach with their proposed creation of  The Edge Academy.

The Edge Academy will cater for up to 140 full time, part time or dual registered young people aged between 11 and 16 who are struggling to cope with mainstream education, including some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people who sometimes feel they have no voice and that the world is passing them by.

Those leading The Edge tell me that there will be an emphasis on equipping the young people involved with the skills they need to succeed. As well as a core curriculum, which will include Maths, English, Science and IT, the academy will offer a range of vocational subjects. It will encourage and equip students to take responsibility for themselves, and crucially for each other too, as part of the framework of learning.

It sounds like a very positive idea, and it’s the kind of forward looking initiative that the Climb project, which seeks to build aspiration, opportunity and achievement in South Birmingham, wants to encourage. Here is a press release from The Edge Academy which sets out more information about the project.

Good luck to Edge in moving to the next stage of their application to get the academy up and running.

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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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