A PLAN to merge two schools is set to be dropped after staff failed to back it.

A public consultation on the merger of Chalkwell Hall Infants School and Chalkwell Hall Junior School in Leigh found the majority of staff members against the move - while only a small majority of the community supported the merger.

Council officers recommended that cabinet doesn’t proceed with the plan after revealing 85 of the 157 respondents opposed the plan while 72 were in favour of it.

Those against it cited a loss of the “separate school ethos”, and said it would have a detrimental impact on staff morale.

The decision to bring in a consultation came from the resignation of the junior school’s headteacher.

Anne Jones, councillor responsible for children and learning, said: “It was only a small majority against and some in the community were more in favour of it. will be an option in the future.

“The school is going to recruit a permanent head and we’ll see how things go with inspections in the future. I like to think the school already has a shared ethos anyway.”

The two schools, both rated “Good” by Ofsted with a combined 840 pupils, both share a site on London Road.

Ms Jones added: “When there is a vacancy in a local authority controlled school its appropriate to seek views on consolidation into a primary.

“The community was just about in favour of it but overall respondents were just about against it.

“There are great pressures on staff at the moment so we need to let them get on with that but we could come back to it at a more appropriate time.”

Those who backed it said a shared ethos would be beneficial with the added bonus of being able to share resources and expertise and an easier passage for infant children going on to the junior school.

The council will “reserve the right” to revisit the merger in the future.

A report to cabinet said: “The staff and governors were very strongly against an amalgamation. There was no clear mandate to proceed at this time.”

The junior school declined to comment and the infant school was unable to do so in time.