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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Merger plan revealed for Cumbrian senior schools

Workington's Stainburn and Southfield senior schools want to merge.

Governors of both schools have each agreed to apply for academy status and that is being considered by the Department for Education. A decision is due within weeks.

They have also voted in principle to immediately start working more closely together in a bid to reduce budget deficits.

The schools are proposing to become part of the Bright Tribe Trust multi-academy trust.

Subject to conversion approvals being granted, it is then likely the schools will amalgamate, with the first phase of this happening as early as September.

As part of the plan, the town's joint sixth form centre at Needham Drive, Moorclose, will close.

Chris McGrath, head of Stainburn School and Science College and Lynda Dalkin, head of Southfield Technology College, informed sixth formers of the plan at a meeting this lunchtime.

The schools want to become a single academy based at Stainburn, where new buildings would be constructed.

Initially, it is proposed that year 7 pupils who have applied to go to Southfield from September will instead go to Stainburn.

Southfield's years 8 and 9 will all transfer to Stainburn over a period of time while years 10 and 11 will stay at the Moorclose Road site.

Sixth form students will move to Southfield for two years until building work is completed at Stainburn.

The merger plans would be subject to consultation with parents, pupils and staff.

Southfield and Stainburn have been working on a possible merger for more than four years.

They are awaiting the outcome of a bid under the Government’s Priority Schools Building Programme.

It could see Workington granted enough money to build a new school for 1,250 pupils, which is the capacity that ministers have calculated is needed. A decision is expected by the end of next month.

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