A Midland secondary school threatened with closure as part of a proposed £750million transformation in Staffordshire is stepping up its fight to stay open.
Queen Elizabeth Mercian School in Ashby Road, Tamworth, is due to close in 2012 after rationalisation plans by Staffordshire County Council under its Building Staffordshire’s Future strategy.
The site would become a new post-16 centre for Tamworth, governed by a new academy which will replace Woodhouse Business and Enterprise College.
The Woodhouse academy, due to be privately sponsored by hotel group Landau Forte, would house up to 1,200 pupils aged 11-16, working with the adjacent Tamworth and Lichfield College. Staff and parents of Queen Elizabeth Mercian School have begun the new academic year by erecting Save Our School banners outside the building.
A school spokesman said: “The deadline for public consultation is January 15, so we are urging everyone interested in keeping this school open to make their views known.”
Tamworth’s four remaining secondary schools would lose their sixth forms if the proposals go ahead, with 11-18 provision served by the proposed post-16 centre.
Carolyn Lang, a member of the Hands Off Tamworth’s Schools action group, said: “We are running out of time, but this is a last-ditch appeal to try to stop these proposals. We only saw the consultation in November and feel cheated the county council has done this over Christmas. We haven’t had time to get the word around. We feel they have chosen to close Queen Elizabeth Mercian for the land because it is the largest site. My daughter only started there last September and faces having to leave after three years and start her GCSEs at another school.”
Tamworth’s would-be MP Christopher Pincher has called on the local authority to extend the January 15 deadline.
Staffordshire County Council deputy leader Coun Robert Simpson said: “Building Staffordshire’s Future is a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve the lives of generations of young people, their families and the communities they live in.
“Whilst education performance in Tamworth has improved recently for young people, GCSE and post-16 performance is poor. We believe strongly a radical solution is needed to help young people in Tamworth.
“A proposed structure for secondary education in Tamworth was submitted as part of this bid.”