PUPILS and staff said a tearful farewell to Robert Karling as his eight-year tenure as head of King Edward and Queen Mary School came to an end.
Mr Karling has left to take over as Rector of Kelvinside Academy in Scotland.
From January, as KEQMS shapes up for its merger with Blackpool’s Arnold School under the United Church Schools Trust, day-to-day running of the school will be headed by deputy heads Mike Stephenson and Judith Cooper.
With Arnold’s Jim Keefe set to take over as head of the merged school next September, Mr Karling has left two terms early and Mr Stephenson paid an emotional tribute to him at the school’s annual carol service, ahead of the head’s final assembly.
He highlighted Mr Karling’s “qualities of leadership, decency, clear convictions, restraint and selflessness” and said that in the last term in particular, Mr Karling had led the school with “a dignity, fortitude and resilience that has been truly remarkable”.
Mr Karling was presented with a picture of the school signed by all the sixth form pupils after he said his farewell at his final assembly, while he and his wife Julia also received numerous other gifts.
Meanwhile, parents battling against the merger are still confident they can maintain KEQMS’ independence.
After lodging their appeal against the Charity Commission’s decision to allow the merger, legal consultation are continuing and it is likely the appeal will be heard in February with a decision by early March.
A parents’ spokesman said: “The judge recognised the importance of progressing the appeal without delay and she made a few requests regarding proceedings and process that will help to minimise any delay.”
Families are being asked to pledge cash to help fund the legal fight. The No To The Takeover group, which has been battling against the merger since it was first announced more than three months ago, is looking to raise £21,000 and has been encouraged by the early response.