THE majority of staff at Ellesmere Port Specialist School of Performing Arts (EPSSPA) are against plans to introduce a £25m academy.

Pressure group Keep Ellesmere Port Schools (KeEPS) says workers were asked last week whether they backed the idea of shutting both that school and Cheshire Oaks High, and building an academy on the Woodchurch Lane site.

A total of 33 were against, with 19 in favour and five abstentions.

Spokesman Campbell Russell said: “On Wednesday staff at EPSSPA were asked if they supported the idea of becoming an Academy. Their response was an overwhelming no.

“Then on Wednesday evening EPSSPA governors voted on the question; “Do governors support the intent to explore the feasibility of establishing an academy on the basis of the documents received (EOI and Vision Statement)?”

“There were eight against, four for and one abstention. They were very critical of the documents and presented their concerns to local authority rep David Ayres, together with feedback from the staff.

“The governors of Cheshire Oaks High also met on Wednesday. They did not vote but were also very critical of the academy plan and sent a strongly worded letter to Cheshire County Council outlining their objections.

“It’s hard to see how the plan can go ahead after the thrashing it got on Wednesday.”

Cheshire’s children’s services executive member, county Cllr David Rowlands, said last week he would need “some convincing” that a ballot was the best thing to do in these circumstances.

He added: “We have to bear in mind this is £25m of investment – this is money that won’t come into the town other than through an academy. It’s a terrific opportunity.”

Formal consultation into the proposal is now under way and the county council wants to gather as many views as possible before the closure date of November 14.

Documents detailing the plan will be distributed to parents and carers, school governors, teaching and non-teaching staff, trade unions and other interested members of the community.

Cllr Rowlands said: “We have before us a great opportunity to take advantage of more than £25m of extra funding which would be made available for Ellesmere Port.

“I urge everyone to read the consultation document and tell us what they think of the proposals over the coming weeks.”

Public consultation sessions will take place on Monday, October 20 between 4-7pm at Cheshire Oaks High and at the same time on the following day at EPSSPA.

To view the consultation document visit