A new independent school officially came into being in North Devon this week with the merging of the former Grenville and Edgehill Colleges into the 550-pupil Kingsley School. Meanwhile, work is progressing on the new £40 million-plus Bideford College st

A new independent school officially came into being in North Devon this week with the merging of the former Grenville and Edgehill Colleges into the 550-pupil Kingsley School. Meanwhile, work is progressing on the new £40 million-plus Bideford College state school, a project which is due for completion next year and will cater for up to 2,000 students.The formation of Kingsley School brings together two schools from different denominations, but with similarities both academic and cultural. Edgehill was owned by Methodist Schools and Grenville by the Anglican-based Woodard Schools. Their owners have said the merger will combine the strengths of the two schools and ensure the long-term future of independent education in Bideford.In an unusual move, the new school has two head teachers - former Edgehill head Stuart Nicholson and former Grenville head Andy Waters becoming joint principals.Kingsley School offers facilities starting with nursery for children from just three months old and continuing to A-level students. It also encompasses the former Grenville specialist dyslexic unit.The merger focuses activity on the former Edgehill site in Northdown Road - a site which has already undergone more than £5 million redevelopment following two fires there in 2006 and 2008.It is planned that, initially, teaching will continue on both college sites, but that by September this year, it will be concentrated on the Northdown campus.Grenville's former Moreton and Belvoir campuses will, however, remain available for use, should they be needed, until September 2010. After that they are likely to be sold off.Edgehill was established in the town in 1884 and for much of its life was a girls' college, although becoming mixed in more recent years.Grenville, established in 1954, had been predominantly for boys until taking over the former Stella Maris convent school a decade ago and also becoming a mixed school.Both schools have catered for both day and boarding students and Kingsley will continue to do the same.