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Somerset - Federation plan bids to save cash

An area of Somerset is facing an "urgent" reorganisation of schools that will require them to federate as a result of falling rolls and financial problems.

Crewkerne and Ilminster have a three-tier system, with upper school starting at age 14, which councillors want to change to two tiers.

But they have not received the necessary funding from government. In the meantime, schools will be told to federate in a bid to save money.

Somerset County Council says the reorganisation is needed because of the expiry of a school lease in 2011 and the likelihood that schools will become financially unviable because of declining pupil numbers.

Two first schools in the area have also become primaries, which "challenges the viability" of the three-tier system, the council says.

"Given the financial constraints, a low-cost option had to be sought which tackled the challenges faced by schools in the South Somerset three-tier system," a council report said.

Wadham, Swanmead and Maiden Beech schools will create a single governing body, as will Shepton Beauchamp, St Mary and St Peter's schools. Other schools will also collaborate and federate.

Education officials think a shake-up of primary education in the south of the county will also help children's achievement by easing pupils' transition between schools. km.

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