Parents step up legal fight

Campaigning KEQMS parents, including No To The Takeover group leader Ray Allis (centre) with solicitor David Coupe at a fund-raising event at Fylde RUFC.
Campaigning KEQMS parents, including No To The Takeover group leader Ray Allis (centre) with solicitor David Coupe at a fund-raising event at Fylde RUFC.
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CAMPAIGNING parents battling to maintain the independence of King Edward and Queen Mary School have stepped up their legal fight against its merger with Blackpool’s Arnold.

With an appeal against the Charity Commission’s decision to allow the merger under the United Church Schools Trust set to go ahead in the coming weeks, the London barrister representing the No To The Takeover parents’ group travelled north this week for talks.

Francesca Quint from Radcliffe Chambers in the capital’s Lincoln Inn was making her first trip to Lytham but is a colleague of former Queen Mary School pupil Sarah Hargreaves, the sister of comedienne Jenny Eclair.

Ms Quint, a vastly-experienced specialist in charity and education matters, met solicitor David Coupe and parents’ representatives, who are busy raising £21,000 to fund their legal fight and are close to reaching the halfway point in their fund-raising drive .

Meanwhile, in an open letter to KEQMS’ governors, the parents’ group claim that they have evidence that the school has a strong future as an independent entity and have called for the governors to consider their positions. They claim they have found via a Freedom of Information request that the school is not failing financially and that the merger under the UCST is unnecessary.

The letter says: “The proposed merger with UCST Arnold makes no strategic sense for either KEQMS or the prosperity of the Lytham Schools Charity.

“We would urge you (the governors) at this ‘late hour’ to reconsider your positions in the light of what is now publicly known and either act to save KEQMS as an independent school or accept that you patently no longer represent the best interests of the Charity, the school, its current pupils and the wider community and resign as governors.”