South Shields primary school sparks academy status row

Mortimer Primary School.
Mortimer Primary School.

A South Tyneside primary school’s plans to become an academy have sparked a row.

Councillors in the West Park area of South Shields have joined forces with parents of pupils attending Mortimer Primary School to rally against the proposals.

News of the plans came to light in a letter handed out to parents last month asking for their views on the plan - to be submitted no later than July 12.

An online petition has been launched by parent Elizabeth Grey against the academy move.

If plans go ahead it will mean the school, in Mortimer Road, South Shields, - which was rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors - will no longer be under control of the local authority.

Coun Gladys Hobson said: “We have been contacted by a number of parents who are not happy with the plans.

Academies are not what they used to be

Gladys Hobson

“It feels as if it is all being rushed through.

“Some of the benefits outlined in a letter which were given to pupils to give to parents are very questionable.

“They talk about having more control of their finances but these will be passed to a multi-academy trust which means the governors will not be able to decide where the money should be spent.”

She added: “The parents quite rightly are very concerned.”

Coun Hobson added: “Academies are not what they used to be and, once a school becomes an academy, there is no going back under local authority control.

“This is an outstanding school and there is no reason for it to be turned into an academy. The government are not pushing for academies any more.”

The online petition launched has attracted a number of signatures and comments.

One person wrote: “Real schools, run by real headteachers under Local Authority control. Academies are not real schools.

“Our children deserve the best.”

Another posted: “This is a wonderful school, with a great head and fantastic staff. I know teachers working in academies and they are not happy places. Please don’t make Mortimer an Academy.”

Councillors will be at the school gates, from tomorrow afternoon, with copies of the school’s letter to ensure parents are aware of the deadline to make their views known.

No one was available for comment at the school.

To sign the petition visit: https://bit.ly/mortimerpetition