Pupils vote on running of partnership schools in Burston and Tivetshall, near Diss

Pupils at two small south Norfolk primary schools were given their chance to vote on potential changes to the running of their schools to help make savings.

The 76 students from Burston and Tivetshall Primary Schools, near Diss, took part in a day long children's conference yesterday to help influence future developments at the two sites.

The two schools have been in partnership since 2006, but management and governors are looking to make changes in light of tight budgets for the next three years.

Pupils were given the opportunity to vote on subjects such as both schools having the same uniform to having more joint events and sharing more resources between the sites. The two partner schools have 15 staff, which teach 53 children at Burston and 23 at Tivetshall.

The conference at Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston marked the start of a wider consultation exercise by the schools' governors as they look to find a way to secure the future success of the school with increasing constraints on budgets.

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Parents, staff, politicians and other stakeholders are to be invited to share their ideas for the school. Governors decided to go out to consultation with interested parties when it became necessary to look closely at class structures and teaching numbers.

Frances Mott, chair of governors for the partnership, said they were going into the process with an open mind and were listening to the views of the children.

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'Having looked at our budgets for the next three years it was clear we could not carry on as we were – operating a three class system at Burston with money for just two classes. Something has to change. This has given us the opportunity to take a good look at how we operate in the schools and see where we can improve,' she said.

David Simington, who took over as headteacher of the two schools in September, said they had been surprised by some of the responses and the pupils were keen to retain their different school uniforms.

'It is imperative that we keep the individual characteristics of each school intact, but at the same time I believe our success in the future lies in closer partnership and integration. That integration could be in classes within the schools as well as with the schools themselves,' he said.

Tom Elkins, 10, who goes to Tivetshall Primary School, said it had been a positive meeting.

'We were talking about whether we should change our uniform and I think we could have a logo for both of the schools to show we are in partnership, but two separate schools.'

Eloise Whittaker, 9, who attends Burston Primary School, said: 'I think some things will change, but only little changes. We all see each other on a Tuesday for clarinet and for clubs and we are friends.'

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