Willmott Dixon has seen off contractor monoliths Balfour Beatty and Carillion to go head-to-head with Kier for the £200 million Telford and Wrekin Building Schools for the Future deal.
The Telford and Wrekin contract is one of the biggest to be procured through the national academies framework.
A source told CNPlus: “It is down to Willmott Dixon and Kier. They are the two that have won the most work through the framework, and have come up against each other several times, so we can expect a very competitive process.”
The two remaining firms will submit bids in August, with a decision expected in the autumn.
The next stage of the procurement process is understood to involve the design of a £35 million sample scheme including an academy, a primary school and a leisure centre.