Parents vow to fight on despite failing to stop Casterton-Sedbergh school merger

CASTERTON School campaigners have vowed to fight on after failing in their bid to stop it merging with neighbouring Sedbergh.

A group of parents whose daughters attend all-girl Casterton withdrew plans to seek a High Court injunction to stop the merger after being threatened with a £1.6m lawsuit by the school’s governors.

Furious at not being consulted over the plans, Casterton Parents Limited received international donations to mount their legal challenge, which they hoped would delay the move to allow time for other options for the school, near Kirkby Lonsdale, to be considered.

But the group said legal teams advising the governors of Casterton and Sedbergh School had warned them that if they had taken the fight to court, the parents could face a £1.6 million lawsuit for ‘damages’.

Andrew Fleck, Sedbergh School headmaster, confirmed that the transfer of assest from Casterton to Sedbergh took place at one minute past midnight on Monday.

But Casterton Parents Limited this week declared: “It doesn’t mean the campaign to save Casterton is over - it just means we couldn’t stop the merger.”

Sarah Short, the group’s spokesperson, said: “Clearly we need to regroup and consider our position.

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“We don’t want to make Casterton parents vulnerable to a £1.6 million lawsuit.

“This merger is being rushed through, full facts have not been disclosed and there appears to be little consideration to the massive upheaval for the children and their parents.”

The group has now requested that Professor David Jackman, a former professor of ethics in education, looks into the merger process on behalf of the parents.

Mrs Short added: “If Professor Jackman tells us this is the only option, then we are prepared to accept their decision.

“However, we’re not prepared to sit back and accept this ‘fait accompli’ and the appalling way it was communicated without getting some answers to reasonable questions.”

Mr Fleck said around 40 parents and children of Casterton School had visited Sedbergh School over the past week and that he was continuing to meet with them.

“Clearly different families are making different arrangements and we have enjoyed meeting Casterton families.

“I think some of them have enjoyed their visit to Sedbergh,” said Mr Fleck.

“It has allowed us to clarify the needs of different Casterton families and adjust accordingly and, perhaps, dispel some myths which are circulating.”

Mr Fleck said both sets of staff would know at the beginning of next week whether their posts are to transfer automatically or whether they are at risk.

Staff will be informed of the consultation process by which selection of staff will be made on Monday, he added.

Comments (9)

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4:51pm Thu 14 Mar 13

Blowin says...

So less than 20% of Casterton pupils have visited Sedbergh. A pretty poor uptake and probably reflects that the Governors got this wrong.

A noticeable silence from Casterton governors who have probably crawled back under their rock!

Spare a thought for the Casterton staff who are having to engage in a biased system to compete for jobs! (Academic performance does not appear to be a significant factor. Is bigger really going to be better?)
So less than 20% of Casterton pupils have visited Sedbergh. A pretty poor uptake and probably reflects that the Governors got this wrong. A noticeable silence from Casterton governors who have probably crawled back under their rock! Spare a thought for the Casterton staff who are having to engage in a biased system to compete for jobs! (Academic performance does not appear to be a significant factor. Is bigger really going to be better?) Blowin
  • Score: 0

7:05pm Thu 14 Mar 13

aimzygal says...

Don't we think that it's time to accept that this is inevitable, and start to prepare your children for the transition. I know it's hard but at least there is another option for them whereas staff are going to be loosing their jobs. Maybe some of the money going on this "fight" could be donated to Red Nose Day.
Don't we think that it's time to accept that this is inevitable, and start to prepare your children for the transition. I know it's hard but at least there is another option for them whereas staff are going to be loosing their jobs. Maybe some of the money going on this "fight" could be donated to Red Nose Day. aimzygal
  • Score: 0

8:13pm Thu 14 Mar 13

mike21up says...

Blowin wrote:
So less than 20% of Casterton pupils have visited Sedbergh. A pretty poor uptake and probably reflects that the Governors got this wrong.

A noticeable silence from Casterton governors who have probably crawled back under their rock!

Spare a thought for the Casterton staff who are having to engage in a biased system to compete for jobs! (Academic performance does not appear to be a significant factor. Is bigger really going to be better?)
Obvious maths is not your strong point!! Fleck says "around 40 pupils and parents visited" that's two parents for each pupil, twelve pupils in all comes to around 40 i think!!
He also says "different families are making different arrangements" which means they are sending their children to lots of different schools but not Sedbergh. From the figures i have the only girls left at Casterton after Easter will be those sitting exams in June who can't move at this stage, everyone else is away and who can blame them.
Fleck also confirms a transfer of assets to Sedbergh, surely if this is a genuine merger the assets transfer to the new joint school governing body. Just another pointer that there is a shady deal and backstory going on here. Or am i just speculating?
[quote][p][bold]Blowin[/bold] wrote: So less than 20% of Casterton pupils have visited Sedbergh. A pretty poor uptake and probably reflects that the Governors got this wrong. A noticeable silence from Casterton governors who have probably crawled back under their rock! Spare a thought for the Casterton staff who are having to engage in a biased system to compete for jobs! (Academic performance does not appear to be a significant factor. Is bigger really going to be better?)[/p][/quote]Obvious maths is not your strong point!! Fleck says "around 40 pupils and parents visited" that's two parents for each pupil, twelve pupils in all comes to around 40 i think!! He also says "different families are making different arrangements" which means they are sending their children to lots of different schools but not Sedbergh. From the figures i have the only girls left at Casterton after Easter will be those sitting exams in June who can't move at this stage, everyone else is away and who can blame them. Fleck also confirms a transfer of assets to Sedbergh, surely if this is a genuine merger the assets transfer to the new joint school governing body. Just another pointer that there is a shady deal and backstory going on here. Or am i just speculating? mike21up
  • Score: 0

1:05pm Fri 15 Mar 13

PeterRogerson says...

Blowin wrote:
So less than 20% of Casterton pupils have visited Sedbergh. A pretty poor uptake and probably reflects that the Governors got this wrong.

A noticeable silence from Casterton governors who have probably crawled back under their rock!

Spare a thought for the Casterton staff who are having to engage in a biased system to compete for jobs! (Academic performance does not appear to be a significant factor. Is bigger really going to be better?)
Just a point, the redundancies will concern all staff, not just those at Casterton, and the system for this is fair
[quote][p][bold]Blowin[/bold] wrote: So less than 20% of Casterton pupils have visited Sedbergh. A pretty poor uptake and probably reflects that the Governors got this wrong. A noticeable silence from Casterton governors who have probably crawled back under their rock! Spare a thought for the Casterton staff who are having to engage in a biased system to compete for jobs! (Academic performance does not appear to be a significant factor. Is bigger really going to be better?)[/p][/quote]Just a point, the redundancies will concern all staff, not just those at Casterton, and the system for this is fair PeterRogerson
  • Score: 0

8:27am Sat 16 Mar 13

Sir arthur says...

The whole situation stinks to high heaven
The whole situation stinks to high heaven Sir arthur
  • Score: 0

11:43pm Mon 18 Mar 13

brokenbanjo says...

Business takes over business shocker...
Business takes over business shocker... brokenbanjo
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Wed 20 Mar 13

zaney5 says...

I see old Tommo has resigned then. Or was he pushed?
I see old Tommo has resigned then. Or was he pushed? zaney5
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Wed 20 Mar 13

Blowin says...

zaney5 wrote:
I see old Tommo has resigned then. Or was he pushed?
Pity he did not do the honourable thing two weeks ago when this fine school could have been saved! Perhaps Sedbergh realised that he would do more harm than good on their Board.

The rest of Casterton Governors should follow suit as they are all equally culpable!
[quote][p][bold]zaney5[/bold] wrote: I see old Tommo has resigned then. Or was he pushed?[/p][/quote]Pity he did not do the honourable thing two weeks ago when this fine school could have been saved! Perhaps Sedbergh realised that he would do more harm than good on their Board. The rest of Casterton Governors should follow suit as they are all equally culpable! Blowin
  • Score: 0

4:15pm Wed 20 Mar 13

zaney5 says...

I don't think honorable is in his vocabulary!
I don't think honorable is in his vocabulary! zaney5
  • Score: 0

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