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Somerset - Mergers beckon as heads bow out

A spate of headteacher retirements in North Somerset has resulted in plans to merge schools as well as recruiting new leaders.

The council also wants to transform Weston-super-Mare's first and junior schools into all-through primaries in an attempt to reorganise education in the area.

In its 21st-Century Schools paper, the Government said all schools should consider federations when appointing new heads.

Hillside First, Mendip Green First and St Martin's CofE Junior will join together in a soft federation in the next school year.

The decision to share staff, resources and buildings was prompted in part by the retirement of Stephen Miller, St Martin's head. His replacement is due to be appointed and a public consultation will start in the 2010-11 school year about whether the schools should become all-through primaries.

Also due to leave this term is David Powell, head of Yatton Junior, and the council wants a hard federation to be formed between his school and the village's infant school to cut costs. In 2011-12, the council will explore whether just one school is needed.

Meanwhile, Birdwell Primary in Long Ashton is set to expand from 2011 due to a population surge caused by a big increase in house building in Weston.

The council's school working group said it was concerned at the slow rate of classroom building, which is needed to cater for rising numbers of pupils. KM.

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