PLANS to merge Evesham High School and Simon de Montfort Middle School have taken a step forward after council chiefs gave it the thumbs up.

At Worcestershire County Council cabinet meeting on Monday the proposal to make the two schools one was waved through, which has delighted the schools.

If successful the merger will take place by September and a saving of £42,000 will be made per year by the Department for Education.

Councillor Liz Eyre, the cabinet member for children and families, said: "We did a consultation and there were no objections to this going ahead so I recommend it for approval."

During the meeting they also said the local councillor Bob Banks had been consulted and raised no objections.

Both schools will stay at their respective sites but come together under a new, currently unrevealed name.

The cabinet also said the staffing, admission criteria and catchment area would stay the same.

This decision sees the plans move to the final stage where a county wide consultation is carried out.

If no further concerns are raised the merger will be given the final go ahead.

Caroline Browne, headteacher of the two schools, which are currently part of a federation, said: "It means the county council think the merger is in the best interest of the local community, which is really good."

If the final consultation raises no problems the go ahead will be given to the school and the governors will finalise the name of the new school at a meeting this summer.

"It's very exciting," added Mrs Browne. "It cements what we done and next year the school can celebrate that a little better with the merger and the new name."

The overall saving from the schools' budgets, which combined totals around £5 million, will begin in the 2015/16 financial year, when they will receive £12,000 less.

In 2016/17 this will reduce again and they will get £42,000 less - the amount that will be saved year on year.

Mrs Browne said the saving was made behind the scenes.

"In terms of all the extra time and effort it takes internally to run two school will be saved," she added. "The saving will be able to go back into the teaching of the children."