“BLACK Thursday” as one member called it, duly arrived at County Hall in 1979, along with a couple of hundred demonstrators protesting at the cuts.

But after a three-hour meeting Somerset Education Authority inevitably approved a reduction of something over £2 million in the 1980 budget.

Inevitably, because this responsible, mainly conservative body would find it virtually impossible to ignore an instruction from central government to reduce spending by five per cent, no matter how much it hurt.

Even Mr Bert Pearson, chairman of Somerset Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations, which had organised a protest petition of 100,000 signatures, voted for the cuts resolution.