Ark Schools have announced that the Department for Education has approved the proposal to bring together William Parker and Helenswood as one co-educational school from September 2019. Parents and staff have been informed. The name of the new merged academy has yet to be confirmed. 

As HIP reported in November, Ark had proposed naming it ‘Ark St Helens Academy’. However, in a ballot conducted by Ark as part of its consultation process during the autumn amongst parents, teachers and other interested parties, this name was rejected by a majority of respondents. Many were seemingly unhappy to lose the historical name of William Parker which dates back to the founding of the school in the seventeenth century. Ark did not offer any alternatives then, but now say that they are ‘continuing to discuss options’.

Ark accompanied the announcement with a statement: “We are grateful for everyone who participated in the consultation, and we will be sharing details of how students, parents and local people can continue to stay involved.” Former staff member at Helenswood, Edwina Fuller, who opposed the merger, told HIP that she regarded the consultation as “a fait accompli from the beginning”

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