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EFA hails progress on PSBP

Tue 28 May 2013

Efforts to rebuild schools across the country are proceeding apace, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) has noted.

The government introduced its £2.4 billion Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) as a replacement for the Labour administration's Building Schools for the Future initiative, with the earlier scheme being scrapped on the grounds that it was inefficient and overly bureaucratic.

According to the EFA, "excellent progress" is being made with the PSBP. Indeed, chief executive Peter Lauener confirmed that building works are set to commence across the country in the next few weeks and months.

This, he said, would lead to those "schools with the greatest need" being overhauled, in order to "help ensure young people can learn in buildings that are up to scratch".

Mr Lauener was speaking after work on the first school to be rebuilt under the PSBP commenced. Nearly £5 million is being put towards revamping Whitmore Primary School in Coventry and the work is set to be completed by Easter 2014.

Wates Construction, which has been appointed by the EFA to overhaul the premises, believes the start of building activity marks the "beginning of a new phase in the delivery" of the PSBP.

Phil Harrison, managing director of the firm in the north and the Midlands, said the building works will create "much-needed new facilities in Coventry".

He noted that Wates has been in close consultation with both Coventry Council and the EFA to make sure these "essential works serve to positively impact the education experience for the city's teachers and young people".

Caroline Kiely, executive headteacher at Whitmore Primary School, added that the revamping of the school is "really good news for the local community" and means children in the area will soon have "a lovely new school" in which to learn.

According to figures from the Department for Education, 261 schools across England have been successful with their applications to benefit from the PSBP.

Theresa Kerr, a solicitor at Winckworth Sherwood, commented: "Schools who were successful in bidding for funds under the Priority School Building Programme will be encouraged by this news, especially as the scheme has come under some criticism for moving too slowly which has apparently been caused by problems surrounding the funding of the programme. We hope that this announcement means that schools will start to see construction workers on site and the building works underway.”

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