An ambitious scheme to modernise Hyndburn’s schools could be axed under education spending cuts.
Four of the borough’s schools had been earmarked for extensive refurbishment and rebuilding programmes under Building Schools for the Future (BSF).
Mount Carmel High, Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School, Norden High and Oswaldtwistle Short Stay School would each receive a chunk of £100m allocated to 10 schools across Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale.
The funding was committed last November, but now the new coalition government has ordered a review of the whole programme, casting it into doubt.
The Department for Education says nothing has yet been decided, but the scheme is perceived to be at risk as Prime Minister David Cameron is committed to cutting billions of public spending, and unveiled a wide-ranging schools shake-up in the Queen’s Speech.
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said: "Building Schools for the Future has been put on review until the autumn, but there have been indications that it’s going to be stopped. Plus the fact it’s been put on review is causing a problem because there can now be no progress.
"We were promised by David Cameron that the poorest people wouldn’t bear the brunt of the cuts but that’s precisely what is happening."
The Hyndburn programme is split into two phases - 4 and 5 - but Mr Jones believes it could be a case of ‘all or nothing’ for the scheme due to the way it regenerates whole areas at the same time.
"If Phase 4 goes ahead and Phase 5 doesn’t, what you would create is ‘sink schools’ with three or four schools that are fantastic, modern facilities and the remainder that won’t get a lick of paint. That would create a two-tier system," he warned.
If BSF goes ahead, construction work at Rishton’s Norden High School is set to get underway in August 2011.
And headteacher Bob Flood said it would be ‘a crying shame’ if the scheme were postponed - or scrapped altogether.
Mr Flood said: "At the moment we just don’t have a clue what is happening. We’ve held numerous meetings with the local authority and the architects, and a lot of initial work has been done. If they do cut the programme it would be an extreme disappointment."