Parents end merger fight

Ray Aliss from the protest group.

Ray Aliss from the protest group.

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CAMPAIGNING parents battling to keep their children’s “much-loved” school independent have given up their fight.

The No To The Takeover group was formed in an attempt to stop the United Church School’s Trust (UCST) taking over private Lytham school King Edward and Queen Mary’s (KEQMS), and merging it with Arnold School, South Shore.

But now - 10 days after failing in a bid to get the Charity Commission’s decision to sanction the merger overturned at a First Tier Tribunal - the parents have decided it is time to end their nine-month battle.

The group claim they were told they had good grounds to appeal but Ray Aliss, one of the campaign group’s leaders, said: “We have sadly decided as a result of the ruling from the First Tier Tribunal the fight to keep KEQMS independent should now end.

“To go into a further round of legal challenge would simply prolong what has already been a lengthy process.

“The group are mindful of the ongoing impact of this legal action to the teachers and pupils of our much-loved school.

“I apologise to everyone involved that we could not deliver the result we all wanted.”

The merger saw UCST - already in control at Arnold - take over The Lytham Schools Charity, and the parents had hoped to prove this should not have happened.

But while the tribunal agreed certain aspects of the merger needed revising, the overall principle of the newly-formed Arnold KEQMS School (AKS) - due to open in September - was accepted.

Mr Aliss added: “This is the end of an era for KEQMS and Lytham and St Annes.

“This was never a personal fight against individuals.

“While I wish UCST well I will never forget or forgive the disruption they have caused to our children’s education.”

But Jon Coles, UCST chief executive, said: “I welcome this news and give credit to them for taking and announcing this decision in order to remove any final uncertainty.

“I want to reassure all parents, staff and pupils we will now focus only on creating an excellent school for the future.”

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