Two Witham academies look set to continue as separate secondary schools.

The consultation by the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) on the future arrangements for Maltings and New Rickstones academies in Witham concluded today.

The consultation was considering merging the schools, but this had met with criticism from parents.

Chairman of the trust Rupert Gather has announced the preferred option is to retain both academies as separate secondary schools, but to share support services in order to optimise the resources that are directly used for teaching and learning.

A meeting to discuss this option by trustees will be held on March 10.

Witham MP Priti Patel welcomed the announcement.

She said: "I would like to pay tribute to all parents who have been involved in this campaign and who have helped deliver this outcome."