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South Shields school to press ahead with academy bid, despite opposition

Headteacher Brendan Tapping at St Wilfrid's.
Headteacher Brendan Tapping at St Wilfrid's.

A South Tyneside school is to push ahead with an application to become an academy despite mounting opposition.

St Wilfrid’s RC College, off Temple Park Road, South Shields, is set become the borough’s third secondary school to take the academy route – giving it more autonomy over its future and finances.

In the best interests of students, families and staff

Brendan Tapping

It would follow in the footsteps of Whitburn C of E Academy and St Joseph’s RC Academy in Hebburn.

The decision, taken at a meeting of the school’s governing body this week, comes despite disapproval at the move from the borough’s National Union of Teachers (NUT) representative, Dr Jill McManus, and Coun Joan Atkinson, the council’s lead member for children, young people and families.

But in a statement, headteacher Brendan Tapping said he was sure the move was “in the best interests of the students, families and staff, our mission as a Catholic school and the wider community”.

He added: “After a four-week period of consultation, the governing body of St Wilfrid’s Roman Catholic College met and carefully considered the range of feedback received from all stakeholders, including staff, parents and carers, students, the trade unions and South Tyneside local authority.

“As a result, the governing body resolved in principle to go forward and continue the process and apply to convert to academy status and form a Multi Academy Trust.”

George Coser, chairman of South Tyneside Unison local government branch, condemned the move, saying: “Unison are strongly against this plan.”