Parents feel ‘ignored’ after Trafalgar College and Great Yarmouth Charter Academy merger meeting

PUBLISHED: 09:06 29 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:24 29 September 2017

Trafalgar College.  Picture: James Bass

Trafalgar College. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2016

Parents have reacted angrily after a meeting about plans to merge their children’s high school with another one.

An ‘open meeting’ was held at Trafalgar College, in Thamesfield Way, Great Yarmouth for parents to share their views about a proposed merger with Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, the old high school.

They asked questions to senior figures from the Inspiration Trust, the academy chain which runs both schools, including its chief executive Rachel de Souza.

A reporter from this newspaper spoke to parents outside the school after the meeting, as the press were not allowed to attend.

The consensus from the parents, none of whom wanted to give their names, was that their questions were not answered.

One mum said she went along to hear about the long term plans after the merger, adding: “I wanted to find out about school numbers, and asked if they had factored in all the new houses being built around here, but didn’t get an answer.”

MORE: Inspiration Trust proposes merging Great Yarmouth Charter Academy and Trafalgar College

One dad said his daughter has “come on leaps and bounds” since joining Trafalgar college last year and doesn’t want it to close. He said it was “a great school.”

Another father said he would find it hard to trust Inspiration Trust as he felt they had “broken their promises” about building the first new school in the town for 50 years on the Trafalgar grounds.

Concerns were also raised about the distance between the two school sites and whether buses would be put on. They are over two miles apart, a 40 minute walk.

The mother who asked said her question was not answered.

Earlier in the month Inspiration Trust announced they were launching a public consultation on merging the two schools.

Trafalgar college only opened its doors a year ago with some 90 Year 7 pupils starting in 2016, and a similar number this September.

When the school opened last year, a new build was planned, with “state of the art” facilities at the Southtown site.

Inspiration Trust spokesman James Goffin said the trust would like to thank the parents that came to the meeting.

He added: “We are keen to hear from as many as people as possible about the merger proposals, and we took questions for more than an hour about the plans.

“Like those parents we want to preserve the spirit of Trafalgar College and radically improve educational standards in the town, with a particular focus on science and technology.

“But we have to face the hard reality that student numbers in the town are not growing as quickly as originally forecast and that if we went ahead as previously planned there would be more than 1300 empty school places against today’s numbers. Spreading students that thinly would be potentially be damaging not just for Trafalgar but for all local schools.

“Bringing Great Yarmouth Charter Academy and Trafalgar College together gives us the best chance of ensuring a great education for as many children in the town as possible.”

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