TWO of the north’s historic boarding schools with more than 600 years of education between them are to merge.

Co-educational Sedbergh School and girls-only Casterton School will join forces and become one in September.

Casterton School, near Kirkby Lonsdale, dates back to 1823 and its former pupils include the Bronte sisters.

However it has experienced a decline in pupil numbers in recent years, a national trend in single sex education, whilst Sedbergh School – founded in 1525 - has been growing.

Now senior pupils at Casterton will transfer to Sedbergh while Sedbergh juniors will relocate to the Casterton site.

Sedbergh head Andrew Fleck said the move would enable them to provide “an exceptional start in life” for their youngest pupils.

He added: “The greater size of the school will lead to a wider range of subjects, sports, cultural and social opportunities which will undoubtedly benefit our pupils and prepare them for the fast-changing world they will enter.”

Casterton head Maxine Lucas said: “There have been links between Casterton and Sedbergh Schools for many years.

“The new combined school will offer continuity to all Casterton pupils, particularly to those who are currently at key points in their education, in addition to enhanced facilities and greater opportunities for all.”