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Just eight councils get fast BSF cash

Less than a quarter of local authorities offered the chance to jump-start their Building Schools for the Future programmes have been able to prove their ability to do so.

Today eight councils in Enfield, Hounslow, North Tyneside, Rotherham, Southampton, Staffordshire, Walsall and Worcestershire were told that they had passed the Government’s tests to gain accelerated access into the £45 billion BSF programme.

Each of the councils, which would otherwise have had to have waited years to rebuild their entire secondary schools estate, will receive funding that will allow them to replace or refurbish five of their highest priority schools.

Hounslow, Southampton, Staffordshire and Worcestershire will start their BSF projects in the summer while Enfield, North Tyneside, Rotherham and Walsall will start in the autumn.

The estimated value of the projects is £625 million.

Schools minister Jim Knight said: “This is outstanding news for children, parents, teachers in these communities. It is right to give the go-ahead to projects which are ready to start so local authorities can target the schools that need it most.

“Our record investment over the last 11 years has made massive strides in addressing the depressing legacy of underinvestment in secondary schools. But we want to go further.

“Building Schools for the Future will transform the shape of education in every single community and future generations will reap the rewards of these fantastic new learning environments and facilities.”

But the eight successful councils represented less than a quarter of the 33 local authorities that were offered the chance by the Department of Children, Schools and Families to speed up their entry to the programme.

The department is now consulting on the best order for remaining authorities to get the BSF schemes under way.

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