PARENTS and residents have less than two weeks to voice their opinion on a potential bid by Tarporley High School to become an academy.

The Eaton Road school began a consultation period in November last year over the possibility of converting from a foundation school to an academy.

That consultation period comes to an end on Wednesday, February 29, with the school’s governing body then considering all views before making an announcement by March 23 as to whether they will be applying for academy status.

Tarporley Parish Council members discussed the issue at their monthly meeting on Monday – having been briefed at the school about the proposal – and the majority were in favour of the school converting to academy status.

Councillor Graham Lees, a former governor at Tarporley High School, said: “It has no choice but to go for academy status if it is to survive.

“CWaC has indicated it wants to offload them (high schools). If most of them go, they’ll all go.”

Cllr Blackford said he trusted headteacher Sarah Lee to look after the pupils’ interests.

However, councillor Jeremy Mills spoke of his concern about the future of the education system.

He said: “I’m not in favour of this. We’re moving to a much more fragmented education service.

“I can’t agree to Tarporley becoming an academy. I have to look at it from a national point of view, I just feel this is adding to the inequality in this country.”

Chairman Ken Parker responded by saying he could only look at the issue from a local viewpoint.

“I felt it was for the benefit of Tarporley High School,” he explained. “I thought there were advantages there.”

Cllr Parker did admit, however, there were concerns from school staff about their pensions and employment.

Two Chester high schools who have already opted out of local authority control and converted to academies are Christleton and Bishops Bluecoat.

Bishop Heber High School headteacher David Curry says they have ‘no intention’ of becoming an academy, adding they have the ‘autonomy and freedom’ as a foundation school to offer the best education possible to pupils.