Ambitious takeover proposals that would see William Morris primary school become part of the Harris Academy have been delayed indefinitely.

The merger was planned for September but funding for the project is now uncertain after a pre-election deadline to guarantee Government cash was missed.

Merton Council is blaming the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families for the delay, but opposition councillors are furious at the hold up after it emerged the takeover was likely to take place in the middle of the next academic year.

And even though the green light has been given, without a commitment of central government funding, the project could be scrapped altogether depending on the outcome of the election.

Labour’s opposition education councillor, Maxi Martin said: “All this has been done on the back of a fag packet without being thought through.

"If the council had thought properly about the timescale involved we wouldn’t be in this situation.

”How on earth are they going to open a new school in the middle of the academic year?”

But Conservative cabinet member for schools, Councillor Debbie Shears, said the transition would be seamless, with no immediate changes in teaching staff or class compositions.

She added: “While the Secretary of State gave approval, he was not forthcoming with the cash because of the election, hence the delay.

“There’s a slight hiatus but we will continue to ensure improvements at William Morris go ahead and that’s why we’ve appointed an interim head for the next two school terms.”

If William Morris is taken over by the Harris Academy, a single education facility would be created in Mitcham catering for pupils between the age of four and 19.

The plans announced in December initially sparked concern among some staff and parents at William Morris but a statutory consultation showed broad support.