A GOVERNOR at Everest Community College has quit following a decision for the school to apply to become an academy.

The Gazette has seen an email sent by Chris Wilson, vice-chairman of the governing board at the school in Oxford Way, Popley, stating that he has resigned.

On March 1, the governing board agreed, in principle, that the school should apply to become an academy with the Academy Enterprise Trust (AET). Mr Wilson’s email was sent the following day to the other governors, including chairman Stuart Green.

It said: “Thank you for your friendship and support during my time as a member of the governing board of Everest Community College, from which I have now resigned as a consequence of the decision taken on Tuesday.”

Last week, Mr Green maintained that Mr Wilson had not resigned and told The Gazette: “He is still a governor.”

When Mr Green was asked about the contradiction this week, he said: “I said we had a full set of governors at the last meeting, and any resignation is a two-way process. Someone gives their resignation and it’s then that the resignation is accepted or declined. I was very careful about what I said.”

He would still not confirm that Mr Wilson had resigned from the governing board, and said: “There are people trying to make all sorts of things out of it. I’m not commenting.”

Labour borough councillor Laura James accused Mr Green of breaking the trust of parents, and added: “It’s very worrying that it wasn’t a unanimous decision.”

This week, a 400-signature petition was handed to the school, asking for governors to keep it under the control of Hampshire County Council – the local education authority.

Ruth Banbury, 31 of Austen Court, Popley, has a 13-year-old son at Everest, and led the petition, collecting the signatures in two weeks.

She said: “The decision has been made very quickly, without any real consultation with the parents. The consultation hasn’t had any facts behind it as to the impact for the children of this school. It’s all big words and the big picture about what could, and should, happen to an academy.

“In a recent Ofsted inspection, a direct quote from the school was that the views of parents and students are sought thoroughly and used effectively to inform worthwhile choices. It feels the decision has been made and the only consultation was to ask us if we agree with this decision or if we are not sure. There’s been no option to say ‘no’ whatsoever.”

She added: “I think, in principle, the idea of academies is good, but I think we should have been given options to look at other trusts and to see how they perform.”

Julie Rose, headteacher, said she had not yet seen the petition. She confirmed that governors will make a final decision on whether to press on with the academy status bid on March 29, but added they have not yet co-ordinated the consultation form responses from parents.