A total of £6.5 million has been knocked off the price tag of a Staffordshire town’s proposed new campus to house two high schools and a sixth form college.
As part of a bid to transform education in Rugeley, a multi-million pound “innovative learning campus” was earmarked for funding under the Government’s now-axed Building Schools For Future (BSF) programme.
It was to form a combined home for Hagley Park Sports College, Fair Oak Business Enterprise College and Aelfagar Sixth Form Centre.
But despite BSF being shelved, the campus plans are still alive. Staffordshire County Council has gone back to the drawing board and reduced the original £40.5 million project by £6.5 million. Council chiefs claim to have been able to reduce the cost so dramatically because it is no longer tied up in the bureaucracy of what it claims was the “wasteful” BSF scheme.
The plan will now be put to Education Secretary Michael Gove, who will make an announcement on which schemes will proceed in the autumn.
The council hopes the revised £34 million price tag, which it claims makes no compromise on the important elements, will give the Rugeley plan a better chance of going ahead.
But Ian Parry, the county council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for children and young people said: “This is not BSF, or even BSF-light.
“We will cut all the unnecessary bureaucracy out of the process and build a campus designed for the needs of the people of Rugeley, not a Government agency in London.”
The council will contribute £700,000 to the scheme. The campus site is already county council owned and outline planning permission is in place.