Witham: MP to hold meeting over school merger plans

Priti Patel, MP for Witham.

Priti Patel, MP for Witham. - Credit: Archant

A public meeting about the proposed merger of two secondary schools in Witham is being held by the town’s MP.

Priti Patel is inviting parents to discuss the plans from the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) to merge the New Rickstones and Maltings academies.

AET wants to form a combined school from September 2016 to allow better use of resources and to tackle an imbalance in population growth between north and south Witham.

It is holding a consultation on the changes until November 7.

The meeting is being held on Saturday at 10am at Witham Town FC ground in Spa Road, and follows a meeting she held last month.

Ms Patel, who has already spoken out against the plans, said: “For the last few weeks the merger proposals have hung like a dark cloud over our town.

“Parents and potential parents have written to me in their dozens to express their anger and disappointment with the plans.

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“All parents and potential parents are welcome to come and meet me on Saturday as we discuss and decide the further action needed to take our campaign against the merger forward.

“My constituents feel the merger is being forced upon them and are deeply concerned about the loss of parental choice and the impact on standards.

“The consultation meetings held by AET earlier this month failed to convince the public so it is time that AET reconsidered their plans and the way they have handled this issue.”

A spokesman for AET said: “This is a wide ranging consultation exercise and we are listening to, and taking account of, all the views being expressed at this time.

“It is absolutely essential that the right solution is found to ensure that all young secondary aged students in the local community are guaranteed a broad and balanced curriculum in the future.”