PRE-SCHOOLS in Bicester and Thame could be merged with their sister schools if a county council proposal is approved.

Members of the council’s cabinet will vote next week on plans to move on to the next stage of plans to extend the lower age range of pupils at Five Acres and John Hampden schools to three.

Foundation level schools for pupils aged three to five already operate on the two sites, but the move will effectively close them down as separate institutions and merge them with the schools themselves.

A report to cabinet members, who will meet on Tuesday, said: “Currently, the governing bodies of Five Acres and John Hampden run both the primary and nursery schools on their relative sites. The proposal is to merge each primary school with its federated nursery school.”

It said the reason behind the plan was to allow the governors of each school to operate one budget each, not two.

During a consultation on the plans, 12 letters of support were received, along with two objections. Concern was raised about the impact the mergers would have on staffing at the nursery elements of the two sites but both headteachers said no changes to staffing were planned.

If the plans are approved at the meeting, the proposals will move to the next stage, during which the council will receive representations from all parties concerned.