The Regional Schools Commissioner has given official consent for Louth’s two comprehensive schools to merge and form one Louth Academy from September 2018.
The ratification follows several months of consultations, and weeks of intensive building works, at the Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College site, which will become the upper school and ‘South Campus’ of Louth Academy, catering for over 600 pupils as a member of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust.
This site will also have a Sixth Form centre, offering academic A-Levels for around 200 pupils in Years 12 and 13.
Meanwhile, the academy’s ‘North Campus’ (currently Cordeaux Academy) will become the new academy’s lower school, catering for around 400 pupils.
Louth Academy and Cordeaux will continue to run as separate schools throughout this academic year.
However, the Trust now plans to introduce the new Louth Academy uniform, free of charge, to all pupils at the Cordeaux site from January 2018.
This decision has caused consternation amongst some parents who say they spent large sums of money of new uniforms just a few weeks ago, when they now know that they could have made their child’s old uniform ‘last’ for just a few more months.
Jason Garrett, parent and town councillor, said: “What’s the point in changing the Cordeaux uniform in January?
“I’ve just forked out over £50 for stuff that will be worn for less than four months.
“Whatever the kids get in January, they will no doubt have grown out of by September 2018, meaning we have to fork out again. It would be better for all if they stuck with the uniform changeover of September 2018.”
Kerry Louise Dunham said: “I’ve just spent almost a hundred pounds on stuff that needs replacing, what a total waste of my money.
“I know it’s free of charge, but we were told at the meeting at Cordeaux that nothing would change until the takeover in September.
“Obviously, if we all had known then we wouldn’t have gone and spent all that money unnecessarily. To some people money isn’t an issue, but it is to me.”
Kerry added: “Other than this, I would like to say that I am more than happy with all other changes that Tollbar MAT have made, and I welcome further constructive changes.”
Chief Executive of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, David Hampson, told the Leader that when the Trust met with parents in July, they believed the merger of the two schools would not be confirmed until much later in the year - but the merger was approved much sooner than expected.
Mr Hampson said: “Following this decision, I decided to arrange to have free uniforms allocated to students for January 2018, as I feel it is important to create a single identity as quickly as possible for the new Louth Academy, which will provide an improved configuration for non-selective education in Louth.
“The Trust is providing this uniform free of charge, which includes a Louth Academy blazer, a Louth Academy tie, a rugby shirt, a PE top, a pair of PE shorts, and a pair of PE socks.
“We had already informed parents that our uniform consisted of a white shirt and black trousers from September, so there is no cost to parents.
“We will also be issuing Upper School uniform to Year 8 students in January, so that they are not expected to change their uniforms again after the summer.”