Chair quits as fight against North Tyneside school merger ends

A chair of governors has resigned after a council's decision not to pursue a judicial review into the Government's decision to support a controversial school merger

Dr Jason Pia
Dr Jason Pia

A chair of governors has resigned after a council’s decision not to pursue a judicial review into the Government’s decision to support a controversial school merger.

North Tyneside Council’s cabinet held a special meeting on the decision by the Department for Education (DfE) to enter into a funding agreement with Kings Priory Academy in Tynemouth and voted – reluctantly, but unanimously – against taking legal action.

But the decision angered many in surrounding schools and now the chairing governor of nearby Monkseaton Middle School, Dr Jason Pia, has resigned in protest.

Dr Pia, who has been a governor at the school for seven years, said the merger would have a “monumental effect” on other schools in the borough.

Dr Pia, whose wife works at the Priory Primary School, said: “I will greatly miss being involved at the school but, at some point, we have to stand up for what we believe. I cannot continue to give my time, experience and knowledge to a local authority that I have no confidence in or desire to support.

“If ever there was a time to stand up for what is right, this was it.

“By failing to challenge what was clearly a flawed process that will have a significantly detrimental effect on local schools, the local authority has failed to defend the interests of its school children.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Dr Pia has felt it necessary to resign over this issue. At its meeting on Monday, cabinet very reluctantly decided not to press for a judicial review.

“It felt that progressing formal legal action at this late stage would only cause disruption and upset for those children and families facing great uncertainty about school places for September.

“Instead, cabinet agreed to focus its attention on protecting the future education for all the borough’s 30,000 children. This was a difficult decision, but ultimately the authority has determined that the resources required to embark upon litigation will be better spent focusing upon the support that the education system within the borough will now require.”

If ever there was a time to stand up for what is right, this was it

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer