A consultation about secondary education in Dorset has been postponed after the county was left out of the latest round of government funding.
Dorset County Council plans to change Purbeck from a three-tier to a two-tier system to shed 1,000 excess places.
The delay is to allow officers to investigate whether secondary pupils could be accommodated in Swanage as well as the proposed site in Wareham.
The consultation is now due to take place in February.
The council learned this week that it would not be included in the next round of Building Schools for the Future (BSF) funding, which gives councils cash towards secondary schools.
It has also agreed to conduct a costing exercise to decide whether the proposed secondary school at Wareham could also operate a split site at Swanage.
Dorset County Council's cabinet member for children's services, Toni Coombs, said:
"It is disappointing not be included in the next round of BSF funding.
"However, we still have our Modernising Schools Programme, which allows us to spend £17m a year on school remodelling and refurbishment across Dorset, and look forward to any future opportunities to apply for government funding.
"This announcement means we would not have as much to spend on secondary provision in Purbeck as we would have liked and, in light of this, more work is needed to be done before we decide on any further consultation on secondary provision in Purbeck."