More than £70,000 could be spent on a review for proposed changes to schools in the Crewkerne and Ilminster area.

Somerset County Council confirmed in September that it would be exploring the possibility of moving from a three-tier system to a two-tier system in these areas by September 2020.

Following a decision by the Schools Forum – which gives schools a direct input into local authority funding – a total of £71,500 will be put aside for the work.

The council is currently finalising the dates for public consultation.

The Schools Forum is consulted on all financial issues relating to the provision of education in Somerset, including changes to the funding formula and contracts between schools and the council.

The money for the review will come from reserves drawn from the central school services block (CSSB) – one of several central government pots from which schools receive their money via the local authority.

Dave Farrow, the council’s head of outcomes and sufficiency, said: “The outcome of the review could result in savings to the overall schools budget, and ensure that the schools in the area are able to continue to deliver good quality education.

“The view of council officers is that the current system is not sustainable, and a two-tier system should be considered, utilising the existing estate of schools, and where possible recognising the national presumption against the closure of small rural schools.”

The review will be carried out on the council’s behalf by Futures for Somerset, a Bridgwater-based consultancy firm specialising in education.

The review will look at the buildings and services provided by all schools in the area – including Wadham School and Maiden Beech Academy in Crewkerne, and Swanmead Community School in Ilminster.

The council has said the review will begin later in the current academic year, but has not confirmed any precise details for consultation events.

A spokesperson said: “We don’t expect there to be any public consultation until later this academic year.

“We will publicise any public events and would encourage as many people as possible to get involved.”