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Rhymes trip off the shop floor

Faced with falling rolls and poverty-stricken catchment areas you might expect most heads to scramble for every penny that is available.

But in Knowsley, the third most deprived authority in England, primary schools are not bidding for funds if other schools need them more and are working together to tackle common problems.

Gill Price, head of St Brigid's Catholic primary, leads one of three primary collaboratives, with 28 in hers.

Her school, which owns a minibus, has decided not to bid for a share of the money available this month for transport from schools to Knowsley's city learning centres, where pupils can use computers.

Five primaries elsewhere in Knowsley have clubbed together to employ writing consultants. The pupils were sent to Tesco to inspire them to write poetry and have also been writing radio scripts.

Schools are also sharing teachers. Heather Burr, a special needs co-ordinator at Mosscroft community primary, advises teachers in other schools. Her head, Gill Lucy, uses the collaborative funds to pay for a supply teacher to cover Ms Burr's absence.

"Heather is a fabulous teacher. I lose her for a day a week, but for the benefit of everyone else it is worth it," she said.

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