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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 11:52 GMT
Cash boost for 'crumbling' schools
school building
The aim is to get school buildings in top order
Schools in need of refurbishment could be set for a facelift, as the government gives details of a capital investment package worth more than 800m.

school building
Many school buildings are in poor condition
The 829m funding for schools in England - allocated for 2002-2003 - is part of a previously announced 8.5bn package for school buildings spread between 2001 and 2004.

Under the scheme money is allocated to local education authorities which then decide which schools in the greatest need will benefit from the money.

The Schools Minister, Catherine Ashton, said: "One of the keys to improving school standards is ensuring that classrooms and schools are well-maintained and well-equipped to provide pupils with a stable learning environment."

Private money

Ms Ashton also welcomed the recent signing of the 37th schools private finance initiative (PFI) contract.

Contracts have been signed to benefit over 490 schools, from replacing a single secondary school to a project providing information and communications technology services to all schools in Dudley.

"PFI provides a major boost to school standards since it provides modern high-quality, well-maintained accommodation over many years which our research evidence shows is important in improving standards, not least through enabling teachers to focus on what they do best - teaching," said Baroness Ashton.

In October a 300m PFI school-building programme was agreed in Liverpool.

Fifteen new schools are to be built and three more modernised under the scheme between the city council and Jarvis Plc.

See also:

22 Aug 00 | Education
US bid to patch up crumbling schools
19 Mar 00 | Education
Hi-tech crumbling school
17 May 00 | Education
Good and bad school design
11 Apr 00 | Education
Cash to bulldoze old classrooms
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