Schools’ merger dubbed bonkers

Arnold School on Lytham Road, South Shore
Arnold School on Lytham Road, South Shore
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A LEADING headmaster has branded the merger of two top private schools “bonkers”.

Blackpool’s Arnold School and King Edward and Queen Mary School (KEQMS), in St Annes, announced on Monday they would be amalgamated from next September

And unhappy parents are believed to be considering schooling elsewhere with Dr Stephen Winkley, the man in charge of Fleetwood’s fee-paying Rossall School, revealing his school has had a lot of interest.

Dr Winkley said: “We’ve had a lot of interest in the last 24 hours from Arnold parents not happy with the announcement and I expect that to continue.

“They are planning to have an enormous school, a school of 1,100 is bonkers.

“People come to independent schools because they think their children will be known and I don’t think you can know people in a school as big as that.”

Kirkham Grammar School is also believed to have received inquiries, and their headteacher Douglas Walker said he was “surprised” by the news. The two schools will be known as Arnold KEQMS (AKS) School, with Arnold’s 700 pupils due to move to KEQMS’ Clifton Drive South site.

Arnold’s headmaster Jim Keefe will be in charge with KEQMS’ current head Robert Karling leaving at the end of the academic year.

And the news has sparked worry among parents their children’s education might be disrupted, as well as raised fears about potential job losses.

But despite his departure Mr Karling said continuity of staffing would be ensured and added: “The intention is to do this with the minimum disruption to staffing, both teaching and support staff who are equally important for the success of the school.

“We’re hoping to be able to run a reasonably fat organisation, particularly to ensure continuity.”