Published: July 6, 2010
Government budget cuts put £6.3m new school in question

The merger of two Highbridge schools and the construction of a modern new £6.3m school in its place has been plunged into confusion this week.

It comes after the government announced it is scaling back spending on the country's schools modernisation programme as part of its attempt to cut the country's huge budget defecit. reported last year how plans to amalgamate Beechfield Infants School and St John’s Church of England Junior School were given a green light by Somerset County Council.

The newly-amalgamated school is due to open this September and included in the proposal is a huge multi-million pound building programme to replace the current infants and junior school buildings with a brand new 14-class school.

The new facilities were due to be built on the current site at a cost of £6.3m, with the new school due to open in September 2012.

However, the government announced on Monday (July 5th) that it has put on hold dozens of school modernisation programmes across the UK - and while the Highbridge mereger is not mentioned on a list of those schemes scrapped, there is now a real concern that the scheme will not get funding to proceed.

Somerset County Council spokeswoman Jan Hookings was unable to say on Tuesday whether the Highbridge scheme is still proceeding.

She told "All I can say is that we are anticipating a further announcement from the government in the next few days on projects like this."

The BBC reported here on Monday that hundreds of school building projects are being scrapped as England's national school redevelopment scheme is axed by the government. Education Secretary Michael Gove said 719 school revamps already signed up to the scheme would not now go ahead.


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