Relief over new schools

A £68M programme to rebuild six Sheffield secondary schools will be completed with only minor cost reductions, banishing fears of dramatic cuts.

The final phase of the Building Schools for the Future programme involves the redevelopment of Bradfield, Handsworth Grange, Notre Dame, Birley, Meadowhead and Westfield.

After worries that the spending could be cut by up to 40%, funding body Partnership for Schools has now indicated that savings of only between 3% and 5% have to be made.

Lib Dem Cabinet member for children’s services Coun Colin Ross said that the agreed reductions would largely be met from efficiency savings.

“There will be little impact to the outcomes of the investment. Work on the six schools is going ahead as scheduled,” he added.

Meadowhead and Westfield have already been rebuilt but their IT systems are to be improved as part of the programme.

Coun Ross accused Labour politicians of “scaremongering” by claiming work would be completed “on the cheap”.

Labour welcomed the go-ahead but said that £8m for primary schools next year had been axed.