Site icon Cllr Alex Yip JP

Background

My parents both came over from Hong Kong in the 1970’s and I am very proud of my heritage. I have an immense amount of respect for my father who worked in many different jobs, learning the Chinese takeaway trade eventually running his business which I took over in 2006.

Traveling in rural China 2006

Education: 1993- 2005

I studied at King Edwards Camp Hill and am delighted to be appointed a Community Governor at Camp Hill and looking forward to giving something back to the school which taught me so much during my most informative years.

I then went on to complete a History and Politics degree at Leicester University followed by a Masters in International Relations. While at University I got involved in the university theatre group as stage manager working with a group of 10 stage crew, designing and managing sets. We ended up taking a performance of “Cows the Musical” to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival about a herd of cows who believed the “grass is greener on the other side.”

I started volunteering at local primary schools through a local ‘Right to Read’ initiative spending a few hours a week reading with students whose first language was not English.

Past Travels and Experiences: 2005-6

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain

I spent two months in Ghana and Zambia in 2005 working at an aids hospital, orphanage and a local school which were two very difficult periods for me but also very touching and moving. The desperate poverty and inequality in these countries and families contrasted very strongly with their joy and innocence.

Backpacking in Cambodia 2003

The hospital we were based at housed many patients with AIDS-HIV and had a testing centre where people were encouraged to come and get themselves tested. The school alongside this provided care for orphans for parents who have died because of AIDS. Working with the volunteers ostensibly to help teach them Maths and English, I felt I learnt more from them about humility, being thankful for what we have, and the joy of living.

Teaching in Shanghai:

In 2006, I taught English as a foreign language (TEFL) at a state secondary school in Shanghai. While class sizes were 50 students to a teacher with 8 forms per year, teachers were very well respected and all students were extremely hard working, dedicated and under a lot of pressure to achieve. Through the British Council, we taught half a class each; sharing British methods of group and discussion learning in English speaking and listening lessons.

Teaching in Shanghai 2006


Although we were only teaching for a year, many of us learnt Mandarin and travelled widely across China and Asia. The pressures of the education system in China and demands on achievement were incredible to witness with these students working incredibly hard for a few university places. The memories and experiences I have gained while teaching, traveling, and getting to know these wonderful group of kids will stay with me for a very long time.

Birmingham 2007 and onwards

I found a real joy from volunteering in China, I continued giving back to the local community when I returned in 2007. In 2009, I became a Birmingham magistrate- at the time the youngest and the only Chinese-heritage magistrate in the West Midlands and joined the Governing body of Kingsbury School and Sports College becoming the Vice-Chair of Governors a year later.

Volunteering in Rwanda 2017

I also continued regular trips to Africa- volunteering in Rwanda and Tanzania, fundraising for Mind Mental Health. After Kingsbury School was academised, I was asked to join the Governing Body of Wilson Stuart- a Special Education Needs school in Erdington, and more recently as a trustee for the Birmingham CBSO and as a Community Governor at my old school of King Edwards Camp Hill.

In all these responsibilities, I have learnt a great deal about the journeys of other people and the mass of good will out there by ordinary people to give generously of their time and expertise to help others. As a local councillor, I find great satisfaction in being able to make that little difference to the life of someone else, to lead a campaign to improve or protect a community and to simply be of service to others.

Birmingham City Council

I am a keen support of raising mental health awareness especially after being affected by it myself whilst in Shanghai. I am a supporter of Mind Mental Health and Papyrus, and championed this through debate at Full Council.

Other motions I have supported include refunds to Council Tax for missed waste collections to residents in Birmingham following a 14,000 named petition, and a Christian Aid backed motion on Tax Justice.

Children with SEND

Elected as a councillor in 2015, Alex joined the committee for vulnerable
children and education and was appointed as the Conservative Group spokesperson
for Children with special educational needs and families in 2016. His
governorship at Wilson Stuart school helps inform his understanding of the
lived experience of thousands of families across Birmingham and the failures of
Labour Council.

These have gone on for years and have encompassed serious issues from home
to school transport, safeguarding failures with drivers without valid DBS
checks taking children to school, uncommunicative children taken and left at
the wrong school. These are on top of the substantial day to day failures that
families see with EHCP’s being produced that are not up to standard, do not
meet their statutory deadlines, are not renewed as mandated. Children are not
picked up for school, parents do not get through to the phones for answers,
children are on journeys far too long on buses, taken on taxies, being educated
at home because there are not enough places in special schools.

Meanwhile the Labour administration have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds
on consultants, reports telling Council what they already know, on payouts for
staff and gagging clauses, on taxi’s, interims, and tribunals against parents
that are fighting a broken system that Council then lose.

Birmingham is now the first Council in the country to have a DfE SEND
commissioner imposed upon it after failing to make improvements in 12 of 13
criterion under the OFSTED Written Statement of Action back in 2018 which should
have taken 18 months, but over 30 months was catastrophically failed, delivered
no improvements wasting time and resources. We need to do better for the
thousands of families across the city and we needed to have done it a
considerable length of time ago under a succession of Directors of Children
Education and Cabinet Members. The city needs a service that works for families
and children in the city.

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