Page last updated at 13:17 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 14:17 UK

Fight to save school wins backing

Campaigners fighting to save a Stoke-on-Trent high school have won the backing of a council committee.

Trentham High school is earmarked for closure as part of a 250m education reorganisation which will see eight schools merged into five academies.

Councillors at a scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday backed a petition by Save Trentham High Action Group to refurbish rather than close the school.

But elected mayor Mark Meredith said he did not expect it to change things.

Mr Meredith said the ultimate decision would still rest with him and his executive, which meets again in two weeks.

The move follows the revelation that a charity, Ormiston Education, is interested in being the main sponsor of the academy which would replace Trentham and Blurton schools.

City Mayor Mark Meredith said the council was "delighted" that the trust, which helps disadvantaged children, was interested in the role.

However, on the same day the trust's interest was revealed, a meeting of the Children and Young Persons' Overview and Scrutiny Committee supported a petition to save Trentham High.

Sponsor 'irrelevant'

The petition proposed that instead of closing, the school was refurbished and worked more closely with St Joseph's College.

Ten councillors on the committee voted by seven to three in favour of the move.

Its recommendation would be considered by the council's executive and members board, the "decision-making body" within the next couple of weeks, a council spokesman said.

Campaigner Daniel Jordan, who has a daughter at a nearby primary school, said they were feeling hopeful the school would be saved.

"There's a long way to go but we are confident Trentham High will remain open," he said.

"And the question of an academy sponsor at this stage is irrelevant."

The city council is planning to cut the number of high schools from 17 to 13 as part of a major shake-up because of falling pupil numbers and standards.

In February, city councillors agreed to close Trentham High, Berry Hill, Mitchell High and Longton High as five academies are created.

Parents, teachers and pupils have protested over the changes to the system which are due to take place between 2009 and 2014.

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