Sir Peter Vardy, thwarted over his plans to establish one of his Academy’s at Consett in the face of local opposition, now wants to join forces with Durham University who have been promoting a rival bid.
Vardy is head of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation, which has sponsored the Trinity Academy at Thorne near Doncaster. Vardy and ex-Sunderland FC chairman Bob Murray are co-sponsors of the plan to set up an ESF Academy at Consett which has the support of former prime minister Tony Blair and North West Durham MP Hilary Armstrong, but has been strongly opposed by county councillors not least because it would involve the closure of two existing schools.
Lord Adonis, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, has said he will not impose a solution on the county. The County Council favours a bid by the Durham Excellence in Education Partnership (Deep), a consortium led by Durham University, to set up three academies.
My spies tell me that Sir Peter met with the vice chancellor of Durham University Christopher Higgins today (Monday 17th March) to discuss a “merger” between the two rival schemes. It seems that Sir Peter is determined to have an Academy in Durham, one way or another. Perhaps he realises that there is no way that Lord Adonis will accept his bid, so he has been forced to go to his rivals to join them.