A POOLE secondary school has taken a step back from rushing through a change in the age of transfer.

Corfe Hills – and its feeder schools – were the only ones not to be involved when Borough of Poole changed its age for youngsters going to senior school to 11 last year.

It took nine years, cost £37.9million, affected around 3,400 pupils and created infant and primary schools.

The intention was for the Corfe Hills pyramid to follow when funds were available, however the academy has decided to go ahead and has held consultation meetings with the aim of changing in 2015 from 12 to 11 years.

However now it has agreed to a full appraisal and Borough of Poole has approved a budget of up to £200,000 to look at re-organising the schools into a two-tier system, which includes Merley, Broadstone and Springdale schools.

A joint statement has been issued by Cllr Janet Walton, cabinet portfolio holder for children, young people and families, Borough of Poole and Cllr Toni Coombs, cabinet member for education, Dorset County Council.

“Borough of Poole and Dorset County Council propose to lead a full options appraisal to consider the future arrangements for the Corfe Hills pyramid. We are pleased that the governing body at the school has agreed to work with us during this process.

“We expect the process will take up to 12 months and will involve a full consultation with all schools, parents, children and young people in the affected and neighbouring areas.

“If it is decided that changes would bring educational advantages and these can be funded, the two local authorities will then work together with the schools to develop a joint plan in order to implement any changes as one re-organisation project.”

Gary Clark, head teacher of Corfe Hills Academy Trust said that after consulting on its proposals the governing body had concluded that: “2015 is too soon to implement this change without coherent plans in place for the other schools in the local authorities of Poole and Dorset.”

He said they welcomed and accepted the council’s offer. “Corfe Hills School is looking forward to working with them and the other schools affected by such a change to produce the desired coherent way forward.”

  • Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole raised the matter with the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, urging him to offer assistance towards capital expenditure if it goes ahead.

Welcoming the feasibility study she said: “This is good news. Let’s look at it carefully. We all want the best outcomes for the children.”