THE ACADEMY chain taking over from a troubled Bournemouth trust has stressed there are no plans to merge Avonbourne and Harewood Colleges.

Parents have voiced fears that the boys’ and girls’ secondary schools could be joined when they become part of United Learning from August 1.

But a spokesman told the Daily Echo: “There are no plans to merge the two schools.”

The Avonbourne Trust, which also runs the Avonbourne Sixth Form and Avonwood Primary School, will cease to exist.

United Learning, which currently runs Glenmoor and Winton Academies in Bournemouth and Carter Community School in Poole, has moved to reassure parents and pupils.

In a letter to parents, chief executive Jon Coles and director of secondary education Dame Sally Coates said: “On behalf of everyone in our group, we wanted to welcome your school into United Learning and let you know how pleased we are that your schools are joining us.

“We are well established locally and understand the communities that we are proud to serve.

“We appreciate that the past couple of years have caused uncertainty for you and we hope that, in joining our group, we are able to provide stability and assurance for the future whilst preserving everything that students, staff and parents appreciate about your schools.

“We believe in bringing out the best in everyone and giving every student and member of staff the support, opportunities and challenge they need to thrive on a daily basis.”

Staff have been told that the schools will form part of United Learning’s Bournemouth and Poole cluster under executive principal Richard Tutt, the former principal of Magna Academy in Poole who was dubbed Britain’s strictest head teacher.

Mr Tutt was behind Magna’s rise to an Outstanding Ofsted grade. They said the move the United Learning should be in place by August 1 so everything is in place for the new academic year.