A NEW academy in North Taunton cleared its final hurdle this week when the Government agreed to millions of pounds of funding.

The St Augustine of Canterbury and Ladymead Community Schools will close after the summer term, with Taunton Academy accepting students from September.

Initially, the facility will use both school sites, but by 2013 it will be housed in new and refurbished rooms at Ladymead, with St Augustine’s sold off.

The academy, with 1,050 11 to 16-year-olds, will specialise in science and sustainability, with a 100-place 6th form from September 2011.

Maureen Bollard, director of education for joint sponsor the Diocese of Bath and Wells, said: “We can now proceed with the exciting business of shaping the new academy and delivering an education which will give local children high aspirations and equip them with the tools to build a happy, fulfilling future.”

Cllr John Osman, children’s services portfolio holder with co-sponsor Somerset County Council, said: “We’ll work hard with the academy and other partners to ensure delivery of a fully-inclusive academy.”

Ladymead head teacher Mark Trusson has been appointed principal delegate and is preparing for the opening.

He said: “We’re getting on with planning an innovative curriculum, new staffing structure and drawing up proposals for how the academy can best deliver the vision of its sponsors and partners.”

Taunton MP Jeremy Browne said: “With the head from Ladymead leading the new academy, there will be both continuity and positive change.

“That’s really exciting and thousands of young people living in Taunton Deane will see the benefits in the decades ahead.”