Anger at web report on Tynemouth schools merger

Parents have been angered after the merger of two Tynemouth schools was allegedly confirmed by education secretary Michael Gove

Priory Primary School in Tynemouth
Priory Primary School in Tynemouth

Confusion for parents over a controversial school merger continues today after a statement from education secretary Michael Gove allegedly confirming the move appeared online.

The mysterious message posted on a private Facebook site says Mr Gove has given the “green light” to the formation of new school, Kings Priory Academy, at Tynemouth, North Tyneside.

The merger proposed is between state-funded Priory Primary School and the heavily in debt fee-paying private King’s School to form an academy.

According to the online statement on Facebook group “Parents Supporting Kings Priory Merger”, the Government has agreed final funding arrangements for it to open in September.

The message, posted by Alex Giles, a council member for Woodard Academies – the organisation which would run the new school – read: “The new Academy has already been described by the Prime Minister as ‘an exciting, innovative project’ for being the first of its type in the UK to merge an independent school and a state primary to become an all through community Academy for 4-18 year olds.

“The Kings Priory School will open under the leadership of principal, David Dawes.” The message contains a statement from Jan Richardson, chairman of Woodard Academies Trust, which reads: “Since announcing our intentions last September, parents and carers have patiently waited for the green light with more than one thousand people signing the online petition in support of this merger. This really will be a school at the very heart of the community it will serve.”

However, the unknown origins of the message and its appearance on Facebook before official letter or email clarification has angered some parents. One said: “The message gives the impression that the merger has actually happened. It would have been nice to have been told and not read it online.

“If this is what’s happening, at least now we know and come September we can all get on with having our children educated.”

All pupils at King’s School and Priory Primary would automatically transfer.

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