Time for your say on school merger

Collegiate High School
Collegiate High School
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PARENTS are being given the option of sacrificing a new £10m Blackpool school to save facilities in Bispham.

A public consultation has now begun on proposals to merge Bispham and Collegiate High Schools, creating one sponsored academy.

And council bosses have said if the merger is backed, there will be a choice between the existing Bispham buildings or new multi-million pound facilities at the Collegiate site.

Coun Sarah Riding (pictured), cabinet member for schools, said: “At the moment we are asking people for their comments on the proposed merger.

“I want to be clear that no decision has been made on where the new sponsored academy would be located.

“If it’s decided that the schools will merge then there will be a choice between the existing Bispham school buildings or a new £10 million school on the Collegiate site.”

The consultation, lasting until February 22, will decide whether or not the schools on Bispham Road and Blackpool Old Road will merge.

If the merger is approved, the new governing body of the academy would then take a decision on the location on the back of responses from the consultation.

Coun Riding added: “I’ve no doubt there will be strong views about the location of the school but that’s a decision that will be made very carefully; taking into consideration all of the comments that have been made.”

Coun Christine Wright, ward councillor for the Greenlands area of Bispham, has been running a petition with her fellow ward councillor Coun Chris Ryan, to keep the Bispham Road school site. She said: “This does prove they’re listening to us and I hope it continues.”

Parent Colin Brown, whose 15-year-old son Craig goes to Bispham High School, said: “I’m pleased [the council] is listening and taking note of the public’s views.”

But Coun Wright said she had concerns over the decision regarding the location of the possible academy being handed to a new governing body.

She added: “I think a decision on the site has to be made before a governing body is formed otherwise it could prove a dividing factor and I don’t think that’s the best way to get off the ground.”

The governing bodies of both schools will host public meetings with parents, unions and stakeholders between January 23 and 25, at the schools from Wednesday.

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