HL Deb 12 February 2004 vol 656 cc57-60WS
Baroness Ashton of Upholland

My honourable friend the Minister for School Standards (Mr David Miliband) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to announce further details about Building Schools for the Future (BSF), including the projects in the first wave, the establishment of Partnerships for Schools, and the publication of the exemplar designs of schools of the future. This follows my statements of 26 February and 26 June 2003.

These developments start to deliver the Government's long-term commitment to a programme of rebuilding and renewal to ensure that secondary education in every part of England has facilities of 21st century standard.

We are announcing today the projects that will make up wave I of Building Schools for the Future, starting in 2005–06. Wave I will benefit from government support for£2.2 billion capital investment in our secondary schools. We hope to announce further waves during 2004. The projects in wave I are:

  • the four BSF pathfinder projects, which were announced last March: Bradford, Bristol, Greenwich-Lewisham-Southwark (joint project), and Sheffield;
  • plus 10 further projects. These are: Knowsley, Leeds, Manchester (phase 1 of their proposal only), Newcastle, Newham, Solihull, Gateshead/South Tyneside (joint project), Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, and Waltham Forest; and two reserve projects: Lancashire (Burnley) and Leicester City.

That is a total of 16 projects involving 19 local education authorities (LEAs) and substantial investment in some 180 schools.

BSF must get off to a flying start, to ensure that the considerable benefits that this programme promises are delivered: greater impact on educational standards and local deprivation, improved procurement, and better value for money. Our focus on delivery will be enhanced through the creation of a new agent to support delivery—Partnerships for Schools. The department will manage Partnerships for Schools jointly with Partnerships UK, and with the participation of 4ps (Public Private Partnerships Programme), to co-ordinate the national delivery of the programme and provide support for LEAs. This body aims to build on the many strengths of the LEAs, and will respond to their needs, with a view to complementing rather than duplicating their role.

At the national level, Partnerships for Schools will:

  • support the Government in selecting areas to receive investment;
  • establish best practice in delivery, both nationally and locally; and
  • develop innovative and effective models of procurement, which help to create long-term public/private partnerships (PPPs), reduce the burden of bid costs, and streamline procurement through standard documentation.

We are also publishing today a compendium of exemplar designs of the schools of the future. The designs are examples of high-quality school design by 11 leading architectural firms who have created some of the country's best modern buildings. The designs will help LEAs and schools to develop their educational vision and requirements, and will drive consistently high standards across all LEAs. They are not a straightjacket, but an inspiring basis for thinking about future provision.

The resulting designs are innovative and inspirational. The compendium contains the aims of the programme, detail of the designs themselves, as well as some of the common emerging themes across the designs. The designs balance the need to design schools for today—for example, incorporating concepts from extended schools and special needs— with innovative ideas for tomorrow, such as the potential teaching models of ICT-rich open learning spaces in all-through schools or schools-within-schools.

Further information can be found in the launch document which has been published today, copies of which have been placed in the Library.