A full review of education landscape is now required

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I READ with interest the letter rejoicing in the conversion of King’s School to a state funded academy (News Guardian, September 13).

I have to say, I am deeply disappointed that this move has been allowed and fear for the impact this will have on two of our well run and successful local schools – Marden High School and John Spence Community High School.

I for one do not agree that a privately run school with a falling roll and issues of financial viability should be able to avoid failure by converting to academy status.

If the business was not viable, then it should have been wound up, with the assets being sold off and any remaining students transferring to our established schools.

Is this any different to the bailout of the banking industry?

I think not and certainly not a good use of taxpayers’ money.

I am sure that both Marden High School and John Spence Community High will already be feeling the effects of this move, and I genuinely do not believe it is in the interests of students, or the local community for this to go ahead.

I am also saddened that these two schools, both of which have made tremendous strides forward in recent years, will be weakened significantly by this proposal.

Let us consider for a moment the potential impact of this proposal.

The King’s School currently charges around £9,000 per annum in fees to each student.

Under the current funding arrangements for state funded academies, this will likely reduce to around £5,000, meaning they will have to recruit significantly more students to operate a viable business model.

This means our existing student population being spread across three main schools, rather than the existing two, not to mention the impact this may have on primaries.

I am also sure that a reasonable proportion of the existing King’s School students will choose to attend other private education providers, which will exacerbate the problem further, resulting in a disproportionate requirement on the newly formed school to recruit students from the likes of Marden and John Spence.

The government has talked a lot about localism.

This is not localism and I for one as a resident of North Tyneside believe that a full review of the local education landscape should be conducted before such a destabilising and potentially damaging proposal is progressed.

This is the only way to ensure that all of the issues are considered appropriately and that the right decision is made in the long-term interests of young people in our community.

CHRIS TODD

Monkseaton