Royal query over AKS name dismissed

AKS entrance exam sign at KEQMS school site.
AKS entrance exam sign at KEQMS school site.
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CAMPAIGNING parents have failed in a challenge of the new name AKS in the latest stage of their battle against the merger of King Edward and Queen Mary School with Blackpool’s Arnold.

Parents continuing to lobby for the Lytham school’s independence highlighted the fact that AKS stands for Arnold King Edward and Queen Mary School – and asked Buckingham Palace whether royal protocol might bar the name of a commoner appearing before that of a monarch.

But the theory has been dismissed out of hand by the United Church Schools Trust - the group behind the merger of the school - as well as by Buckingham Palace.

A spokesman for the parents against the merger said: “The new school keeps being talked about as Arnold KEQMS -– or AKS for short.

“A supporter remembered some rules about the use of a commoner’s name and a monarch’s in a title, and phoned the Lord Chamberlain’s office at Buckingham Palace to get advice.”

A Buckingham Palace press office spokesperson said the parent inquiring had been told that no decisions on such matters are taken at the Palace.

“It is up to the Cabinet Office to approve such names, in which case we receive a recommendation for Royal approval from them,” she said.

A spokesman for UCST added that there was no problem with AKS or Arnold KEMS names. “Both have been confirmed by the Cabinet Office,” he said.

Meanwhile, parents have been told that the school could be operating on a split site at the existing KEQMS and Arnold premises in at least the early stages after the merger in September.

Jon Coles, chief executive of United Church Schools Trust, the group behind the merger, is meeting parents this week to talk about accommodation plans.

Along with Mr Coles’ personal visit to both schools, UCST is publishing various accommodation options for the next school year for parents to consider – including various split site possibilities.

Mr Coles said: “There are a number of options, some of which would include operating on both current school sites for a further year. My own view is that one of these split site options would be best, but we are consulting parents, and if there is a clear preference among parents as to the best option, then that is what we will do.”