EDUCATION: Councillor resigns from school board

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A CITY councillor has resigned as a school governor over the proposed £100 million shake-up of secondary education in Peterborough.

A CITY councillor has resigned as a school governor over the proposed 100 million shake-up of secondary education in Peterborough.Cllr Chris Spencer has quit as a governor at John Mansfield School, in Western Avenue, Dogsthorpe, after five years of service.

His shock resignation follows a recent meeting of the board of governors.

At the meeting, Cllr Spencer's fellow governors are believed to have accepted the proposals of the school's review, which include the closure of the school and the integration of its pupils into the new 2,000-pupil academy.

The news will also be a blow for headteacher Chris Walford, who has always been opposed to the plans.

Cllr Spencer said today: "It's very sad that it has had to reach this stage, but I did not want to see John Mansfield destroyed.

"It is a pity others on the governing body saw that the school was no longer worth fighting for."

The board is yet to make its views public, but is expected to do so before tomorrow, when the first part of the public consultation on the schools review ends.

Cllr Spencer said he also had grave concerns about plans to close Bretton Woods Community School and Walton Community School, and to build a new school in either of the wards.

And he questioned the proposed catchment area for the new academy, which he said would not take youngsters from ethnic minority groups living in Central ward.

He claimed these children would have to go to an expanded Jack Hunt School, in Ledbury Road, Netherton.

He said: "This will give Jack Hunt School a very high ethnic minority, and, from an ethnic harmony point of view, I don't think this a very good idea – it will lead to problems."

As reported in The Evening Telegraph, John Gribble, headteacher at Bretton Woods, and Cllr Mohammed Jamil, who represents Bretton, have expressed similar concerns.

When asked about the resignation, Paul Doherty, the education authority's consultant for secondary review, said: "It is entirely a personal matter for Cllr Spencer, and it is, therefore, inappropriate for us to comment."

The Evening Telegraph was unable to contact headteacher Mr Walford, or Sue Band, chairwoman of the governors.

Former mayor gave up position

CLLR Chris Spencer is not the first city councillor to resign as a governor of John Mansfield School.

At the beginning of September, Cllr Ray Pobgee also resigned.

Cllr Pobgee, a former city mayor, said today: "I resigned for the simple reason that this community – Dogsthorpe– which elected me, is against the closure of the school. On that basis, I wanted to represent the community and fight for the school as their councillor.

"I couldn't have done this if I had remained a governor, which is what Cllr Spencer has now decided."