THE head of King Edward and Queen Mary School is leaving at the end of the current term – a full nine months before it controversially merges with Blackpool’s Arnold School.
Robert Karling (inset below right), who had been set to be replaced by Arnold head Jim Keefe at the new Arnold King Edward School next September, is to take up a post in Glasgow on January 1.
Deputy head Mike Stephenson and Judith Cooper will head the day-to-day operation at KEQMS for the spring and summer terms, while Mr Keefe will take overall leadership of the team planning the merger under the United Church Schools Trust.
Mr Karling, who has headed KEQMS for the last eight years, is to take over Rector of Kelvinside Academy.
He said in a letter to parents: “It has been a privilege to serve KEQMS for the last eight years and I thank you for the support, care and love you have given me.”
David Webb, chairman of the KEQMS governors paid tribute to Mr Karling, saying: “He has been an exemplary leader of the team at KEQMS. We have all benefited from his outstanding leadership.
“Despite the large amount of work required in order to prepare for AKS between now and August, the Governors have decided to give permission for Mr Karling’s early departure.”
Ray Allis, leader of the parents’ group which has been protesting against the merger of the two schools, said: “Mr Karling epitomises the ethos of KEQMS and was the reason many parents made the choice to send their children there.
“We would like to thank him for all his dedication, outstanding leadership and the care he gave to our children. Everyone from KEQMS will be sad to see him leave.”
The news of Mr Karling’s imminent departure came just days after the first Open Day for the new-look AKS School was held at the KEQMS site.
AKS headmaster designate Mr Keefe welcomed hundreds of parents to the school and said: “It was fantastic to see both schools working so closely together and to be able to talk to parents about the new school and what it has to offer.
“AKS will have at its heart the firm foundations and proud traditions of two great schools – Arnold and KEQMS – something on which we will continue to build moving forwards.”
Meanwhile, the No To The Takeover group of parents, taking legal advice on a pro bono basis from Lytham law firm Coupe Bradbury, say they plan to lodge their appeal against the merger to the Charity Commission by December 22 at the latest.