Meeting over school bid to be academy

A PUBLIC meeting is to be held next week to discuss plans to turn St Thomas More RC High School in North Shields into an academy.

The meeting, organised by North Tyneside Public Services Alliance, will be held on Wednesday at Wallsend Memorial Hall.

It comes a week before a consultation period ends for parents of current pupils on a proposal to opt out of the current arrangements for the funding of the Lynn Road school and apply for academy status.

The alliance’s Charlie Syme said: “This is a major change and may have implications for other schools in the borough. It could have a devastating effect on education provision across the authority.

“North Tyneside Council has already made it clear that it is against any school opting out, and public service trade unions have also voiced opposition to the proposal.”

The alliance believes an academy in North Tyneside would create a two-tier school system, increase inequality and social segregation, put pressure on other schools to convert, mean less money for other schools, undermine central support services provided by the council, do nothing to improve the educational attainment of pupils and introduce a profit motive into the education system.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Full council voted by a majority of members to confirm the council’s opposition to the creation of academy schools in North Tyneside.

“However, the decision to seek academy status will, properly, remain a decision for individual governing bodies in consultation with the communities they serve.”