Merger fight will continue

Parents and pupils gathered outside King Edward and Queen Mary School in Lytham

Parents and pupils gathered outside King Edward and Queen Mary School in Lytham

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ANGRY parents today vowed to continue their fight to stop their children’s private school merging with a Blackpool rival.

The Charity Commission has ruled the merger between King Edward and Queen Mary School (KEQMS), in St Annes, and Arnold School, in South Shore, can go ahead – but a parents protest group now hopes to challenge that decision.

The No To The Takeover group – made up of KEQMS parents – hoped getting the commission involved would stop the merger.

Campaigners said they were “gutted” by the ruling it could go ahead.

But, in a statement, the group revealed it still believed it could fight to stop the new Arnold KEQMS School (AKS) becoming a reality next September.

A spokesman said: “We all feel gutted by the improbable conclusion of the Charity Commission and the prospect of AKS.

“We feel huge sympathy with all the staff at KEQMS.

“ We still believe we must try to save the school to which many of them have devoted their working lives and which has formed such an important part of our local community.”

The statement added the group felt “great sorrow that justice has not been done” and now had a “renewed determination to right the wrongs.”

They now have a right to appeal to the commission.

Since the decision was made scores of parents have flocked to the group’s website to make their feelings known.

Many said they considered the decision a “sad day” and felt as though they had been ignored, though there were also rallying calls for parents to get behind the new merged schools.

KEQMS is currently run by the Lytham Schools Foundation, but the merger would see it taken over by the United Schools Church Trust (UCST), which already controls Arnold.

The new school will be on the KEQMS site on Clifton Drive, St Annes, and Arnold headmaster Jim Keefe – who will also be in charge at AKS – said the legal transfer of KEQMS to United Schools Church Trust had now taken place.