Parent power: South Shields school drops academy plans after parents revolt

Mortimer Primary School
Mortimer Primary School

Parent power has halted a South Tyneside primary school’s plan to become an academy.

Letters informing parents of the proposal by the governors at Mortimer Primary School were handed out to parents in June.

Coun Gladys Hobson

Coun Gladys Hobson

They were invited to air their views on the plans which would see the school, in Mortimer Road, South Shields become a stand alone and no longer supported by the local authority.

A campaign against the move was launched including an online petition – backed by councillors from West Park and Westoe.

The strength of feeling against the move has now led to the school announcing it will not be pressing ahead with the plans to become an academy “at this time.”

The school was rated by Ofsted inspector as an ‘outstanding’ school.

I fully believe the local authority is best placed to look after schools and not be run as a business.

Elizabeth Grey

Parent Elizabeth Grey, who launched a petition against the move to academy status, said: “I’m happy and it is for the best. The school is brilliant as it is. I fully believe the local authority is best placed to look after schools and not be run as a business.

“I did my best to get the parents involved. I couldn’t sit back and do nothing.

“Mortimer Primary is an outstanding school so why change something that isn’t broken?”

The plans proved to be unpopular with some parents expressing their concerns over the proposals.

The online petition also attracted hundreds of signatures and comments.

Coun Gladys Hobson, who along with councillors from West Park and Westoe supported the campaign to prevent the school from becoming an academy said: “We are all really pleased with the result.

“The parents had until July 12 to send back their replies to the school regarding the move to become an academy and we were able to set a few things straight about what it would mean if the school decided to go down that route, as some of the information being talked about was inaccurate.

“They have decided following the response from parents not to go down that route at this time.

“We are really delighted at the outcome as if it had gone ahead it really would have been the thin end of the wedge.”

No one was available at the school.

However, a statement on its website said: “In accordance with DFE regulations, the governing body met on 19th July and considered the move to Academy Status.

“It was decided that, after considering an extensive range of information, the school will not be progressing with conversion to academy status, at this time.”