THE shake-up of education in Winsford has begun after council bosses gave the thumbs-up to the merger of two schools.
Cheshire County Council's executive will publish notices proposing the amalgamation of WillowWood Infant School and Willow Wood Junior School.
Education officials have been in talks about a possible merger since October after being approached by school bosses and have proposed both schools and the recently formed Wharton Children's Centre join together on one campus.
The school will provide350 places for children aged four to 11 and early years nursery care. The merger could pre-empt the council's Transforming Learning Communities review, which could shut schools with surplus spaces as a result of falling birthrates. Stage one of the council's five-step programme, which could culminate in anamalgamation effective from September 2007, is now complete.
Cheshire's lead member for children's services, David Rowlands, said: 'Discussions have been taking place with each school and parents about the proposals. Each governing body came to us with the suggestions which we believe make good sense, especially in light of our Transforming Learning Communities policy.
'Notices will now be published in the New Year providing an opportunity for people to object or write in support.'
If there are objections, the matter will be referred to the independent School Organisation Committee.
Winsford town and county councillor Tony Hooton said: 'The two schools and the children's centre will make a fantastic complex providing excellent service for the area.'