LEADERS at Haygrove School have expressed their delight at the announcement that a new school is set to be built on a new site in Bridgwater.

They have written to parents after the Mercury exclusively broke the news that the current school in Durleigh will close at some stage after the main building was found to be unsafe ahead of the current school year, which started in September.

The Department for Education has confirmed the buildings will be demolished and a new school built in Queenswood.

The letter to parents says: "We are writing to you with an important and, hopefully, exciting update about the future of Haygrove School. We are delighted to share with you all that the Department for Education (DfE) has now confirmed that funding will be made available to rebuild the entire Haygrove School. Whilst this is excellent news for our school community, we do not yet have any further details available beyond that.

"We are currently engaging with the DfE on details such as timescales and the location of the new buildings and will update on this as soon as we have any further confirmed information. What is clear at this point is that the existing main building will not be used again in the future and that the whole school, rather than just that block, is going to receive significant investment from the DfE, for which we are very grateful.

"We will continue to work closely with the DfE and advocate, as always, to have the needs of our students, staff and local community at the heart of every decision.

"We are currently waiting on further information from the DfE and will share further news with you as we receive it.

"Whilst there is still much more detail yet to be decided, we are pleased to be able to share this positive next step for our school and our community with you all. We are grateful for the support we have had from the DfE and the local authority throughout this unprecedented situation.

"We can’t thank you all enough for the ongoing support, resilience and commitment you have shown throughout this process. As we stated in August, we are very much looking forward to having an excellent school building which our community is proud of, and we are so pleased to be able to finally share the first step to achieving this with you all."

Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has hailed the "magnificent teamwork" that has led the Government to announce the building of a replacement school.

He said staff, governors and local authority officials had worked tirelessly to secure the investment, after the existing main building was condemned and closed in September.

Since the closure of the structure - built only three years ago - there have been huge logistical problems for head teacher Aaron Reid and his team.

But the DfE has now confirmed that the structural faults are too many and too severe to be fixed.

So a new school will be built on nearby land at Queenswood Farm, which is already in the ownership of Somerset Council.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said the announcement was the best Christmas present staff, students and parents could wish for.

“This is the obvious and most sensible solution to the problems at Haygrove and I am deeply grateful to the Government for recognising the reality of the current situation and deciding that a new Haygrove must be built from scratch,” he said.

“But there has been some magnificent teamwork on several fronts to argue the case for a new school - and current and future Haygrove students should be deeply grateful that they have such a dedicated and supportive team of staff and governors who have been prepared to fight so resolutely to provide a better educational future for them all.”

The LibDem candidate for the Bridgwater parliamentary seat Claire Sully has welcomed the news, but said pupils, staff and parents have been badly let down by the government.

Haygrove School was forced to close part of its site in August this year after a window collapse prompted a structural survey of the site which revealed serious safety flaws in recently built sections of the school. Many pupils experienced major disruption, having been forced to work from home or at other sites in the town and temporary classrooms had to be brought onto the site. Experts told the Department for Education (DfE) that parts of the school might be prone to collapse should it see very high winds or an unusually heavy snowfall.

The problematic parts of the school had been built under a £38million project by now defunct contractor Caledonian Modular as part of a scheme introduced by the current Conservative Government. The government said the contract would fast-track construction and offer value for money, but Haygrove joins a school in Essex in having to close because of doubts about its structural integrity, while two Cornish primary schools built under the contract have had to be demolished before they were even opened.

Mrs Sully said: “While it’s great that a new school is being built to serve Bridgwater, this sorry affair could have been avoided by proper investment in school refurbishment by the Conservative government. They seem to lurch from crisis to crisis, and far from delivering value for money, seem to have wasted millions on unsafe and crumbling school buildings.

“Parents of Haygrove pupils may not be impressed by the outgoing Bridgwater MP Iain Liddell-Grainger telling the local media that the government helped solve the crisis when it was the same government that created the crisis.

“Education infrastructure in this country has been allowed to fall into disrepair as building and maintenance budgets have fallen in real terms under the Conservatives, and it’s sad that parents, pupils and school staff in Bridgwater are having to pay the price for Mr Liddle-Grainger’s party’s failings.”