CONSULTATION over the biggest shake-up of schooling across south-west Shropshire in living memory closed this week.

The results of that consultation, which ended on Monday (March 10), will go some way towards seeing eight schools - including Bishop’s Castle Primary School, Norbury Primary School and The Community College Bishop’s Castle - setting up a Co-Operative Trust.

The schools involved are already in close collaboration initiatives. A trust would have to see governors, headteachers and staff from each school working with each other and with partners from business, higher education and the Diocese of Hereford.

With charitable status the trust would be eligible for a range of funding streams to support its projects.

Alan Doust, headteacher at The Community College, said the trust was a 'very exciting' move.

"This family of schools, with its partners, has the power to make a real difference to education in our area," said Mr Doust.

"One of the things I particularly like about forming a co-operative is the fact that all your key stakeholders – parents, students, teachers, the community – can become members and feel they have ownership in the trust."

Kay Miller, headteacher of St George’s CE Primary School in Clun - another school which is involved, said the trust allowed for a pooling of resources and expertise.

"We don’t lose our separate identities as schools, which is important, but it does allow us to adopt a more strategic approach to solving issues, it is also a way of channelling support and making sure it’s as effective as it can be," she said.

The consulting schools are: Bishop’s Castle Primary School, Norbury Primary School and The Community College, Bishop’s Castle.

The existing foundation schools involved are: Clunbury CE Primary School, Newcastle CE Primary School, St George’s CE School, St Michael’s Federation (Lydbury North CE Primary School and Onny CE (Aided) Primary School).