‘Politics over pupils’ in Mackie Hill decision, says MP

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Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has claimed “politics” has been put ahead of children’s welfare after the government pulled the plug on a successful merger between two local schools.

Parents and staff have been left outraged after the Department of Education ordered Mackie Hill Junior and Infant School, on Painthorpe Lane, to become an academy.

The school has been under the stewardship of nearby Kettlethorpe High since the start of the year, which parents say has seen it substantially improve since it was rated inadequate by Ofsted in January.

A petition to save the merger has been signed more than 1,100 times.

On Monday evening, almost 100 people attended a Save Mackie Hill meeting at Crigglestone Working Men’s Club, where parents expressed their resolve to save the partnership.

Asked why she thought the government had made the order, Ms Creagh said: “I think for them it’s a political solution, but it’s not an education solution.

“I’m concerned this will cause more disruption for Mackie Hill, the staff and the children there. What we had before was a good system of improvement.

“This will just produce another round of uncertainty.”

The New Collaborative Learning Trust, which runs New College Pontefract, has been put forward as the government’s preferred choice to sponsor Mackie Hill.

It is understood that a board made up of school leaders from across West Yorkshire will meet on December 13 to either rubberstamp or oppose the decision.

Beate Wagner, Wakefield Council’s corporate director for children and young people said: “We are extremely disappointed by this, particularly as the proposals to merge the school with Kettlethorpe High, had such significant support from the local community.”