AN INNOVATIVE approach to school leadership has given two primary schools a single headteacher.

The Acorns Nursery and Primary School in Pooltown Road, Ellesmere Port, has teamed up with a small school in Whitley village, near Warrington.

The soft federation between Whitley Village Primary School and The Acorns, formed in January 2011, means they share headteacher Amanda Powell.

The partnership was developed by Cheshire West and Chester Council and has received the backing of governing bodies, children, staff and parents.

It is the third partnership of its kind in Cheshire but the first between two schools so far apart.

Ms Powell said: “I’ve been splitting my time between schools.

“We’ve put in a senior teacher from Acorns to be deputy head.

“We’re being quite innovative. We’re ahead of the game in terms of Government proposals.”

The two schools differ in many ways – they are 19 miles apart, their pupils are from different backgrounds and one is rural, with 39 pupils, while the other is urban, with about 320 pupils.

But the differences have enabled the schools to exchange ideas and collaborate.

Initiatives such as joint Year 6 teaching, shared residential and environmental activities and cross-school visits have expanded pupils’ knowledge.

The Year 1 children from The Acorns recently visited their rural counterpart, feeding goats on the school’s field.

Ms Powell added: “It’s working. Staff are learning from each other.

“We had a joint staff meeting at the Acorns.

“In a couple of weeks Whitley children will join children from Acorns at Tattenhall.

“It’s going from strength to strength. Education is changing. It’s quite exciting.

“We’ve got to be open to new changes.”

There is an open day at Whitley Village Primary School on Thursday, October 13, between 10am and 7pm.