PLANS to create two large school academies in Ellesmere Port have met with a 'deafening silence' from businesses, it has been claimed.
Under the Transforming Learning Communities blueprint, Cheshire County Council wants the facilities to replace Whitby High, Cheshire Oaks High and Ellesmere Port Specialist School of Performing Arts (formerly Sutton High) schools.
Academies are set up as independent charitable trusts and invite organisations or individuals to contribute up to £2m towards running costs, while funding for buildings is provided by the Government.
So the county has been asking businesses in Ellesmere Port & Neston for their support and to provide sponsorship.
Talking about this at a Cheshire Business breakfast meeting at Oulton Park last month, the council's director of children's services, Joan Feenan, was heard to say there had been a 'deafening silence' from local firms.
Mrs Feenan was not available to clarify her comments.
But council spokesman Ian Callister said on her behalf: 'We have always been keen to engage local businesses in the sponsorship of our academy plans for the town.
'And we are a little disappointed that, so far, this has not happened.
'It's an exciting development and we believe it is one that will benefit businesses as the academic and vocational achievements of their prospective employees will be improved.'
Mr Callister added: 'We have also been in discussions with other bodies and some of these organisations have already promised sponsorship and support.'
It is believed the academies will be based on two of the three current school sites in Ellesmere Port, although no decision has yet been taken.
A group called Keep Ellesmere Port's Schools, which includes county members of the National Union of Teachers and public service union Unison, has vowed to oppose the council's plans.