Hands off our school

Sally Hesketh and fellow protesters at KEQMS.
Sally Hesketh and fellow protesters at KEQMS.

STOP the takeover!

That was the message from hundreds of parents and pupils as they staged a protest against plans to merge King Edward and Queen Mary School with Blackpool’s Arnold School under the United Church Schools Trust.

An online petition containing more than 1,000 signatures was presented to governors in advance of the latest in a series of meetings over the move, which would see the two schools coming together on KEQMS’s Clifton Drive site from next September.

Amid Tuesday’s protest, governors’ chairman Canon Godfrey Hirst, admitted that initially, he had “perhaps underestimated” the strength of public feeling against the merger.

“I thought the main objections would be from Arnold parents over moving here,” he said.

In advance of another meeting last night, Canon Hirst added: “I will take their petition to the governing body and I will listen to the proposals that a small group of parents wish to discuss with me.”

Protesting parents want a ballot over the proposed merger, which would see the departure of current KEQMS principal Robert Karling, fees increase and the school roll more than double.

For more reports, reaction and pictures, see this week’s Express.