Parents’ anger over school merger deal

King Edward Vll and Queen Mary School, Lytham
King Edward Vll and Queen Mary School, Lytham
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FURY has erupted over plans to merge two rival private schools without any consultation.

Hundreds of angry parents and students from King Edward and Queen Mary School (KEQMS), Lytham, have signed an online petition against the plan to merge their school with South Shore’s Arnold from next September.

Parents from KEQMS described meetings with governors – which have been taking place since the news was announced on Monday – as “heated”, while sixth form students have organised “protest pins” which pupils will wear to show their objection to the merger.

One mum, who didn’t want to be named, attended a meeting with chair of governors Rev Canon Godfrey Hirst and said: “It’s just a nightmare. I was quite positive about the merger – but I came away from Thursday’s meeting feeling negative.

“The feeling of anger is huge. A parent stood up and asked if it was a done deal, was told it had been signed and quite a few people walked out.

“Canon Hirst has completely underestimated it.”

As part of the merger, KEQMS is being taken over by the United Church Schools Trust (UCST), which Arnold is already a member of, and the new Arnold KEQMS School (AKS) will be run by current Arnold headteacher Jim Keefe, with KEQMS principle Robert Karling stepping down.

A KEQMS sixth-former told The Gazette: “Everyone is so angry, the atmosphere in school is terrible. I’ve never seen the school in that way.

“The students have created blue pins that will be worn around school as a protest.”

More than 450 parents have signed an online petition to “stop the takeover of KEQMS”, and voiced anger at the lack of consultation.

Rev Canon Hirst said: “Parents have a wide variety of views, and I do understand the announcement was a surprise to some.

“As the governing body, each of us has a duty to act on the best interests of our pupils to ensure they continue to receive an excellent education. This is why, following much careful thought, we agreed on the merger and why the decision will be upheld.”