AMBITIOUS plans to make St Andrews home to one of the top junior schools in Scotland are under way with the merger of St Leonards Junior and Middle School and New Park School

From September, the new St Leonards-New Park School will be based at Hepburn House, within the St Leonards School complex.

It is understood that between two and four teaching posts will be lost as a result of the merger, although this could not be officially confirmed.

Teachers at the new St Leonards-New Park School will comprise of staff from both schools.

The move also means that the present New Park site at Hepburn Gardens will be sold, with the proceeds used to set up a trust fund for the new school and other education projects.

Martin Passmore, chairman of New Park, confirmed that the merger has been under discussion for some time.

He said: "In deciding to relocate to the St Leonards site, it was clear that it offered far more possibilities than New Park.

"Not only will the pupils have access to the grounds at St Leonards, but all the facilities of the senior school will be available to the junior school."

Sir Fraser Morrison, chairman of St Leonards, has told parents that the merger is good news for all concerned, and particularly for the future of independent education in the area.

He added: "Instead of two schools working in competition, we have the opportunity to work as one unit to build what we intend to be one of the very best schools in the country."

Andrew Donald, current head at New Park, will continue in his role at St Leonards-New Park, working under the direction of St Leonards head Robert Tims.

Mr Tims said that the merger will bring the benefit of a larger school community while retaining small class sizes, adding: "We are able to combine the best of both worlds."

Mr Donald said: "I am absolutely delighted with the move which will secure the future of independent education in St Andrews and allow us to build on the success of the past."

It has also emerged that there will be a 25 per cent reduction in senior school and sixth form college day fees at the St Leonards school, as well as further reductions to junior school fees.

St Leonards bursar, Wing Commander Johnston Calder, said that this was achieved thanks to the revenue generated by allowing the use of school facilities during holidays.