January 22, 2018
'Burnham-On-Sea or Highbridge' to get new school in £140m boost

A huge £140million schools building and improvement programme unveiled by the County Council this week will see one new school being built in 'Burnham-On-Sea or Highbridge', it was announced on Monday.

A new 420-pupil school is to be built on the site of the Brue Farm housing development in Highbridge, which was reported a year ago by and first revealed in development plans in 2014, as we reported here.

Somerset County Council has this week said it plans to build "24 new or replaced and expanded schools around the county over the next 7-10 years to meet the demand for places from the growing numbers of children and young people."

"The programme includes new developments in Taunton (seven), Bridgwater (four), Yeovil (three) Burnham-On-Sea/Highbridge (one), Wells (one), Shepton Mallet (one), Frome (one), Street (one), Somerton (one), Castle Cary (one), Ilminster (one), Crewkerne (one) and Chard (one)."

The projects will create an additional 2,300 secondary places by 2023. The council says the first phase of the programme will cost around £140m, of which the County Council will fund around £116m. The rest will come from developer contributions and the Department for Education.

"I am proud to lead the Council as it takes this huge decision that will see brand new schools built, with others extended or improved in all of our major towns and many villages. It is a big step, it is a bold step, but it is the right step for us to make," said Council Leader David Fothergill.

"There is a lot or work still to be done, planning and consultation will need to take place, but our plans are ambitious, they are exciting and I’m sure parents, families, our communities will be as excited as we are."

The first of the new schools to be built will be the £9m expansion of Selworthy school on the site of the former St Augustine’s School in Taunton, which will provide education for more than 120 vulnerable children.

The first phase of funding will be raised through borrowing at low interest rates provided through the Government’s Loans Board. It is the first borrowing to take place at the Authority for more than seven years.

"The time is right to borrow at ultra-low rates for the right building programme and who can argue that investing in our children’s future is not the right thing to do," said Council Leader David Fothergill.

"The expansion of Selworthy special school on the former St Augustine site is a vital first step to help us give the best possible opportunities to vulnerable children in our county. I am thrilled that this school is one of the first to be announced in our building programme," said Cabinet member for children and families Frances Nicholson.


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