Second meeting to be held for Heysham secondary school parents angry over GCSE changes

Bay Leadership Academy - previously Heysham High.
Bay Leadership Academy - previously Heysham High.

A second public meeting is to be held tonight, Tuesday May 28, for parents of pupils at Bay Leadership Academy in Heysham.

The meeting, from 7.30pm at Heysham Mossgate community sports facilities, comes after parents raised concerns at the decision by the school to drastically cut its GCSE subject choices for Year 8 pupils.

Parents are outraged that several GCSE option choices have suddenly been removed.

Of the optional subjects, only business studies, engineering, health and social care and performing arts remain – all at BTEC level rather than GCSE. But popular subjects including art, IT, music, media studies, PE, construction and hair and beauty have all been removed.

Parents held a meeting to discuss the issue on Thursday, and some have since reported that they have been contacted by the school to attend meetings this week.

One angry dad said his daughter had her heart set on becoming a PE teacher – yet now cannot study PE at GCSE level.

“The choice has been ripped away from them,” he said. “A lot of these choices were giving the children something to aim for in quite a deprived area – this is killing their aspirations.

“Some parents have put their children down to go to this school because of what they offer and now they are stopping all the subjects.”

One mum said her son, who has special educational needs including ADHD and autism, has now told her he no longer wants to go to school.

“We were told two weeks ago that he could do art and IT,” she said. “He struggles academically and he won’t be able to take any of the options they have been told they have to pick from.

“My son went into a complete breakdown because it was such a shock to him.

“I don’t know what on earth will happen, we have all been sold down the river. This is their futures we are talking about and yet we feel like they are being used as guinea pigs.

“It’s supposed to be a sports college and yet they won’t even be offering PE at GCSE.

“It’s diabolical. My son has said he wants to drop out because he has no interest in any of those subjects. He’s finding it very hard to deal with.”

Another mum said: “I am absolutely appalled. My son wanted to do sport and IT and he just doesn’t want to do any of the subjects offered.

“This is causing so much upset. It’s such a shock to everybody. What school doesn’t do art or IT? Where’s the choice for these kids?”

Another parent added: “Not all pupils are acedemics and many gain vital vocational qualifications that lead them onto jobs, further education and even starting their own enterprises after leaving high school with vocational skills.”

Star Academies, who operate the school, have not yet responded to a request for comment.

For more information you can follow the ‘bay leadership options appeal’ group on Facebook.