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Thursday, March 19, 1998 Published at 12:14 GMT

UK: Politics

Blunkett spends lots of pennies
image: [ Relief to an estimated 600 schools across Britain ]
Relief to an estimated 600 schools across Britain

A dash across a rain swept playground to get to the school toilet could become a thing of the past, under government plans expected to be announced on Thursday.

The Education Secretary, David Blunkett, is understood to be proposing to use money for schools, announced in this week's Budget, to ensure that no pupil has to go outside to get to their school toilet.

[ image: No more chilly experiences]
No more chilly experiences
An unloved legacy of the Victorian era in more than 600, mostly rural, primary schools, outside toilets are to be replaced as part of a new £250m capital programme.

The work is likely to cost around £35m with the remainder funding a programme for replacing old and inefficient school boilers.

Mr Blunkett has already announced that £10m will be spent on accelerating the formation of Education Action Zones, designed to raise standards in under-performing schools.

One hundred million pounds will also be spent on programmes for bridging the "skills gap" among adults, likely to be announced next week.

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