Bam Construct and Carillion have been shortlisted to contest the first batch of North-west schools under the £400m capitally funded part of the £2.4 billion Priority School Building Programme.
CN understands that the two contractors will fight it out for the contract, which is the first of two to be awarded for the north-west region. A winner is expected to be announced in April.
The work covers schools to be built in Blackpool, Cheshire West, Halton, Manchester and Tameside.
The second north-west contract will relate to Liverpool, St Helens and Wirral.
Local authorities in batches:
North-east: Durham, East Riding, Gateshead, Sheffield, Stockton, Sunderland
Midlands 1: Coventry
London: Barnet, Greenwich, Lambeth, Newham. Waltham Forest
North-west 1: Blackpool, Cheshire West, Halton, Manchester, Tameside
South: Devon, Isle of Wight, Kent, Poole, Southampton
East: Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire
Midlands 2: Birmingham, Derby, Nottinghamshire
North-west 2: Liverpool, St Helens, Wirral