TWO north Suffolk schools have struck a deal to share the same headteacher.

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Pupil numbers at Southwold Primary and Barnby and North Cove Primary, near Beccles, are set to surge when the schools join forces in September. The schools, approximately 10 miles apart, will retain their own identities, uniforms and staff. But Ruth Nixon, who is already headteacher at Barnby and North Cove, will act as head for both.

She believes the collaboration will offer educational and social advantages, and secure the future of both small schools.

“We have carefully considered the collaboration,” said Mrs Nixon

“I am extremely excited about the challenge ahead, but believe it will offer and provide the very best for both schools. It is a fantastic opportunity for our school, but most of all we believe this is for the benefit and future of our children”.

The collaboration will see the two schools pool teaching resources, share costs and offer joint sports days, seasonal parties and school trips. Children will also be able to work together on joint class projects.

Barnby and North Cove has about 40 pupils. Southwold Primary currently has just 26.

In September, numbers 
are expected to rise significantly. The increase is mainly a result of Suffolk County Council’s School Organisation Review (SOR) - with middle schools in the Waveney district closing, primary schools are taking in Year 6 pupils and high schools are taking in Year 7 and 8.

Susan Steven-Jones, who has been acting head at Southwold since former head Richard Turner left in December 2009, said the merger marked exciting times for all involved.

She said: “Our size will almost double which is just fantastic.”

The partnership came about after Southwold advertised for a new leader, but found it difficult to attract the right replacement.

“We advertised three times for a teaching headship but didn’t get much interest so it was decided to ensure the small school’s survival we’d put it out to other schools in our cluster.

“Essentially we asked the schools in Beccles and Bungay if they would like to collaborate.

“We went to the governors and spoke to everyone involved and it’s been a huge success. It’s overwhelmingly positive.”

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