North Tyneside Council has decided to challenge a Government decision to allow a controversial merger between Kings School and Priory Primary in Tynemouth.
Councillor Ian Grayson, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Learning said:
"This is a legal process and not something we are entering into lightly. There was a thorough and robust debate at council and all the details were examined before this decision was taken.
"It is clear that the Secretary of State got his facts wrong when assessing the surplus places at nearby Marden High School and the major impact this academy will have on other secondary schools in the area.
"The council and cabinet were also extremely concerned about the £5million debt that Kings School owes to its creditors.
"We had previously asked the Secretary of State for an assurance that should the academy go ahead this debt would be paid by the Woodard Trust and not paid for by the taxpayer.
"Unfortunately this assurance has not been forthcoming and the Secretary of State has stated that he has agreed to fund the existing loan and overdraft of Kings School by securing a charge against the assets of the Woodward Corporation on land and buildings in Tynemouth. He asserts that this represents 'good value for money'.
– Cllr Ian Grayson, North Tyneside Council
"So, while we appreciate that this is an extremely unsettling time for the parents of children at Priory Primary and at Kings School we believe it would be wrong to allow our concern for them to override our duty to all 30,000 children in our schools.
"We have reassured parents of children at Priory Primary that no child will be left without a school place in North Tyneside in September and that will still be the case. Priory is an excellent local authority maintained school and would continue to be part of the local authority provision."
The council added that it will consider requesting a judicial review of the decision if a satisfactory response is not received.