UNISON have started a campaign against moves to turn two city primaries and a secondary school into an academy trust.

The union are opposed to a bid for South Bank schools Millthorpe Secondary, Scarcroft and Knavesmire primaries, to opt out of local authority control and become an academy trust.

Other schools in York which have already become academies include Archbishop Holgate CE Secondary, Manor CE Secondary and Poppleton Ousebank Primary, along with Haxby Road and Robert Wilkinson primaries.

The governing bodies of all three schools plan to release details on May 8 when a public consultation will begin. The schools say the plan would mean they could work more closely together and share expertise.

But Heather Mckenzie, Unison York branch secretary, said members of the union from the South Bank schools had come forward with concerns about the proposed trust.

She said: “An argument has been put forward about schools being able to share experience but actually it is not necessary to go to an academy to do that.

Schools have formed clusters before so that argument does not hold any water.”

Unison say removing schools from City of York Council control would remove the safety net a local authority provides and take them away from democratic influence.

Ms McKenzie said: “They talk about it giving more freedom but actually schools already have freedom from local authority control.

“It gives them the freedom to employ under qualified teachers and they can set their own admissions criteria. If someone has a child with special needs the question is would an academy school be willing to take on that child?”

The union want a formal vote for interested parties before any decision is made. Ms McKenzie said: “We are asking for a democratic ballot and consultation of staff and parents. We want it to be completely transparent with all the relevant stakeholders getting a say. ”

Millthorpe school’s head teacher, Trevor Burton, said a vote would be very unlikely. He said: “The way schools are run, the governing bodies decide what happens.”