A 175-YEAR-OLD preparatory school is set to move out of its building and merge with a larger private school next year.

Rose Hill School in Alderley announced this week that it will merge with Querns Westonbirt School and move onto their site near Tetbury.

Rose Hill governors say that the move is something they had been thinking about for some time and will mean better facilities for their pupils.

"The merger of Rose Hill and Querns Westonbirt is good news for both schools. It was welcomed unanimously by the governors of Rose Hill and Westonbirt," said Dr Tim Rees, chairman of governors at Rose Hill.

"Rose Hill and Westonbirt have had a long and happy relationship, indeed they have talked once before about merging.

"The new school, being larger, will have the critical mass to enable Rose Hill to maintain its excellent academic record and full range of activities in the long term.

"We have a shared vision of what we want the new prep school to be and the governors and staff of both schools look forward to making the merger a great success."

Querns School, a preparatory school for children age three to 11, is set in the 250 acre grounds of Westonbirt Girls School with facilities including a new sports centre and large theatre.

When the two schools merge they will be called Rose Hill Westonbirt Preparatory School and will take children aged three to 13.

Both schools are keen to move quickly and anticipate that the merger could take place Easter 2009. Current buildings in Westonbirt's grounds will be extended to make way for the influx in pupils.

Debbie Young, director of admissions at Westonbirt School, said: "We are hoping to move on with the merger plans sooner rather than later and we are working very hard to make sure it happens as quickly and smoothly as possible.

"Rose Hill and Querns are both thriving schools, long established and with excellent results, the merger will ensure a strong future for them both."

The schools are around eight miles apart and both schools run transport for the pupils, who come from all over the county.