Merger fight hotting up

Ray Aliss with his daughters Jess (left) and Anni Holt protest at King Edward and Queen Mary school
Ray Aliss with his daughters Jess (left) and Anni Holt protest at King Edward and Queen Mary school

PARENTS trying to stop the merger of two public schools have gathered more evidence to challenge the decision.

The No to the Takeover campaign is attempting to keep the King Edward VII and Queen Mary School in Lytham independent and to prevent a merger with Arnold School in South Shore, Lytham.

The group, led by parent Ray Aliss and four other Fylde businessmen, hopes the home of an ex-Prime Minister will play a large role in making their bid successful.

Shortly after the death of Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath, his home Arundells, in Salisbury, was taken over by the Charity Commission and tours were organised.

Questions over the cost of running the tours were made and a decision was made by the Government body to sell the house.

The decision caused public outrage and a petition was launched and the home was successfully saved.

Mr Allis said: “There were more than 200 objections to closing the home and the Charity Commission decided the trustees of the house should go back to the drawing board and look at ways which would be better for members of the public.

“That is a house and this is a school, but we are asking for the trustees of the board to look at an alternative to save the school.

“It’s a case of drawing a proposal between two charities that are both struggling.”

The group has recently acquired the services of a barrister who has sent the case to a specialist schools team to review the case.

Support is also gathering pace in the form of the Lidunians, a group of 1,000 ex-pupils at KEQMS, who have backed Mr Aliss.

David Coupe, a spokesman for the group, said: “We all have to try really hard to find a solution which will enable the school to retain its independence. The Association supports the parents fully in their considerable endeavours to achieve this.

“The group is confident, taking account of the financial resources which are at the disposal of the Lytham charity and the immense advantage of a wonderful school campus, the school can be successfully run.

“It has even offered to finance the cost of a thoroughly-researched alternative options report.”