A NEW academy trust for three schools in West Somerset could unlock funding for major improvements to their facilities.

The federated schools of Danesfield Middle, St Peter’s First, in Williton, and Old Cleeve First will become a trust known as the Quantock Academy.

The move would see funding coming from central government instead of Somerset County Council and is expected to bring huge resources.

Ian Bradbury, executive head of the schools, said the move would allow the new academy to bid for substantial grant aid from the Government to carry out a major revamp of Old Cleeve.

The three wooden huts at the school will be replaced and a new kitchen will be created.

Mr Bradbury said: “We’re all really excited about this and the reaction from parents has all been very positive.

“The schools will all retain their names, history and traditions but we are hoping to carry out some major work to improve Old Cleeve for our pupils.

“The huts should have been knocked down years ago as they are no longer fit for purpose and we will be applying to the Government for funding to replace them with something more modern.

"We want to spend money improving facilities on the field at Danesfield and buy more books and equipment for the children.”

At Old Cleeve, reception and class one pupils can look forward to new play equipment also.

There are no plans to raise the age range of pupils at Danesfield and there are plans to continue the close links with West Somerset College in Minehead and Knights Templar First School in Watchet.

Consultations with parents, staff and trade unions on the switch to an academy status have been underway since the beginning of the autumn term.

Governors of the existing Quantock Federation voted in favour of the switch a year ago.

The schools will become known as the Quantock Academy on March 1.

The change was due for January 1, however Mr Bradbury said it had been delayed due to complex land transfer agreements Academies, including Minehead Middle School and West Somerset College, are publicly funded independent schools and were first introduced by the Labour Government in 2000.