550 sign up against South Shields school’s academy bid

Stephen Peel, Gemma Taylor, Shirley Ford and Lesley Hanson with the petition
Stephen Peel, Gemma Taylor, Shirley Ford and Lesley Hanson with the petition
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A petition containing 550 signatures against a South Tyneside school’s academy bid has been handed to its head teacher.

Harton Technology College in South Shields has started a consultation on plans for applying for academy status.

“We ask governors to take this high level of concern and opposition into consideration.

Gemma Taylor

Parents of youngsters at the Lisle Road school received a text message informing them of the proposals - which were initially rejected by the school’s own governors in January 2015.

However, the South Tyneside branch of the Green Party and the South Tyneside Public Services Alliance (PSA) awere against the bid - which would see the school run independently and removed from local authority control.

In protest a petition was launched and 550 signatures were collected

The petition handed over to the school’s executive head Sir Ken Gibson on Thursday.

Sir Ken said: “Sir Ken said: “I took receipt of the petition and had a very amicable chat with the members. Governors will be meeting again in due course to consider all feedback received during the consultation period. A final decision will then be made.”

Gemma Taylor of South Tyneside PSA and her team have been gathering signatures from shoppers at the Nook in South Shields and from feeder primary schools.

She said: “In our letter with the petitions, we asked the governors to accept these as 550 individual responses to their consultation.

“We feel that they should give these signatures due weight particularly as the consultation period was very short and parents did not receive a letter about it, only a text message was sent by the school and some parents did not receive it. We therefore asked the governors to take this high level of concern and opposition into consideration when they meet to discuss the results of the consultation with parents and the wider public.”

She added: “In gathering these signatures we found that there was overwhelming support for this outstanding school and for keeping it as it is.”