Merger school to work on two sites

Arnold School
Arnold School
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PUPILS at a new private school will be educated miles apart for at least a year, it has been revealed.

The new Arnold KEQMS School (AKS) will become a reality in September – but bar the brand new maroon uniform, most of its pupils will see little change for at least another year.

The school is being formed by merging Blackpool’s Arnold School with King Edward and Queen Mary School (KEQMS), in St Annes, but after consulting with parents the decision has been made to delay plans to house all the pupils on the same site until vital building work can be completed.

It means existing pupils will remain together, teachers are being given the option to re-consider voluntary redundancy and Arnold headmaster Jim Keefe – who will be in charge of the new school – will have to control his 1,000 pupils across two sites in two different towns.

The United Church Schools Trust (UCST) will run the new school, and its chief executive Jon Coles said: “I have decided that the best way forward is that pupils in all year groups should stay on their current site for the academic year 2012/13.

“Both schools rightly pride themselves on their friendliness, quality of teaching, the availability of staff and pastoral care, an ethos that permeates from the head and a strong community spirit.

“Jim Keefe is deeply personally committed to retaining these strengths and to building on the best of what exists in both schools in order to ensure that AKS is a success for all pupils. UCST will support him to the full in this.

“We intend to ensure that AKS is an outstanding local school from September, meeting the needs and preferences of the communities of both predecessor schools.”

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Mr Keefe added: “AKS will have small class sizes, a broad curriculum and a healthy range of activities after school from Day One of opening. We have a wonderful legacy to build on and a fantastic set of pupils, parents and staff.

“Staff from both schools are working hard to make sure that it is an outstanding school and we are extremely confident that this will be the case.”

A consultation is currently under way on plans to remodel the current KEQMS building and build a new junior school and sports hall on the site, which would allow all pupils to be eventually accommodated there.

One key change which will come into force from September is all the school’s pupils will be expected to wear the AKS uniform comprising of a maroon blazer with silver AKS logo, a navy and bottle green kilt for girls, and a navy blue and bottle green tie, with maroon stripes, for the boys.