NEARLY two thirds of parents at three south York schools are against plans for them to leave local authority control, a recent survey has shown.

Research around Scarcroft, Millthorpe and Knavesmire schools shows that 61 per cent of parents do not want the academy conversion to go ahead, and that figure rises to 70 per cent when the whole of the community is accounted for.

The three schools have been considering leaving the control of City of York Council since March last year, and governors are due to cast their final votes by early February.

A total of 269 people completed the survey, which was devised by Jonny Crawshaw and Dr Katy Phillips, and organisers say that even among the group backing the proposal many believed academy conversion was inevitable, while others were confused about whether the three schools would remain an independent multi-academy trust (MAT) or become part of a larger group.

A parents' group had campaigned for a direct "yes-no" poll to be run to show governors the view of parents and the wider community, but the schools insisted a full consultation would gather a wider range of information and opinions.

Trevor Burton, headteacher at Millthorpe, said the survey showed the high levels of interest being taken in education in the area, which would be taken into account.

"Governors have been keen since the very beginning, nearly a year ago now, to gather such feedback and since the summer a working party comprising governors, headteachers and staff from the three schools have met regularly to examine the detail of the implications of becoming a multi-academy trust."

He added: "It is a fact that the education landscape is changing across the country and governors are very conscious of the weight of their responsibility to respond to these changes and to look strategically at what is best for their school and for the children and young people of our community.

"I understand that some parents feel that a ballot should decide the issue, but schools are run by governors, not parents, and it is governors who have consciously made the time commitment to fully explore all aspects of academisation so as to make an informed decision. Many of our governors, of course, are parents themselves of either current or former pupils.

"I have every confidence that the decision governors will make, will be the right decision for their school."

If the votes go in favour of conversion the schools will become a MAT on March 1 - two months later than originally planned.