Campaigners challenge Charity Commission decision to allow schools to merge

Charity tribunal asked to review regulator's decision to permit merger of King Edward VII and Queen Mary School and Arnold School

Arnold School
Arnold School

Campaigners against the merger of two charitable independent schools in Lancashire have appealed to the charity tribunal against the Charity Commission’s decision to allow the schools to combine.

The regulator decided last month that the King Edward VII and Queen Mary School in Lytham could merge with the Arnold School in Blackpool, which is run by the United Church Schools Trust. There were 120 objections to the merger.

A campaign group, called Friends of KEQMS, has set up a blog about its objections to the merger.

The commission’s final decision report says those who objected to the merger had argued that pupils with special learning needs would not be catered for under the new scheme, and it would not require the provision of religious instruction in the Christian faith.

They also said trustees of the school had not considered other options for the school that were put forward by a group of parents.

According to the blog, the group expects to need about £25,000 for the appeal and it is raising this money with fundraising activities and donations from parents and alumni. It says it has raised about £7,000 so far.

The appeal has been made by Raymond Allis and Martin Hesketh, two representatives of the group. The tribunal is waiting for a response to the appeal from the commission, and has not yet confirmed whether a hearing will take place.

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