Council challenge school merger plans

North Tyneside Council says it will challenge a Government decision to allow a controversial merger between a state-funded primary and an independent school in Tynemouth

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Council to oppose Tynemouth school merger

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'.

"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."

– Cllr Ian Grayson, North Tyneside Council

The council added that it will consider requesting a judicial review of the decision if a satisfactory response is not received.

Council to challenge school merger plans

North Tyneside Council is set to challenge a Government decision to allow a controversial merger between a state-funded primary and an independent school.

The Department for Education has given the go-ahead for the King's School in Tynemouth to combine and form an academy with Priory Primary. However, at a special meeting tonight the council has decided to oppose the plans over fears of the impact the move will have on the borough's 30,000 children.

The council has confirmed that it will now request that the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, reconsiders the proposals.

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