Press release

Over 9,000 pupils to benefit from new and improved school buildings

Details of the first 2 successful bidders for the Priority School Building programme.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Over 9,000 pupils in 15 schools will benefit from new and renovated school buildings as the Department for Education announced the first 2 successful bidders for the £2.4 billion Priority School Building programme.

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd has been successful in its bid for a contract for the first group of schools in the north-east, Yorkshire and Humberside and Wates Construction Ltd has successfully bid for a contract in Coventry.

The north-east contract is worth approximately £64 million and it means that 9 schools (4 primary, 3 secondary and 2 special) across Durham, Gateshead, Sheffield, Stockton on Tees, Sunderland and East Riding serving 5,495 pupils will be completely rebuilt or refurbished.

The schools are:


  • Durham Trinity School and Sports College
  • West Cornforth Primary School
  • King James I Academy


  • Hill Top Specialist Arts College


  • Fox Hill Primary School
  • Prince Edward Primary School


  • Ian Ramsey Church of England School


  • Usworth Grange Primary School

East Riding, Yorkshire

  • Goole High School ‘An Academy of Excellence’

Wates Construction Ltd has been successful in its bid for the £36 million contract in Coventry. This means that more than 3,675 pupils (including nursery places) in 4 primaries, 1 secondary, and 1 special school will be taught in new buildings. This contract is the first of 2 batches planned for the Midlands.

The schools, all in Coventry, are:

  • Whitmore Park Primary
  • St Thomas More Catholic Primary
  • Wyken Croft Primary
  • Richard Lee Primary
  • Ernesford Grange Community
  • Alice Stevens Special School.

Schools Minister David Laws said:

We are delighted to confirm the first two contractors who will work with us on our £2.4 billion Priority School Building programme. This programme will provide new or refurbished school buildings for the children being educated in those schools that are in the very worst condition.

Boyd McFee, Director from Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd said:

Sir Robert McAlpine is delighted to have been appointed to deliver the first batch of schools in the north-east, Yorkshire and Humberside under the Priority School Building programme.

We have been working with a strong team of designers and supply chain partners for more than a year to develop our approach in readiness for the PSBP and look forward to partnering with the Education Funding Agency in the delivery of these important schools.

Steve Beechey, Group Investment Director and Head of Education for Wates, commented:

Today’s announcement is fantastic news for Wates, as this a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our expertise in the construction of next generation school buildings. We look forward to acting as a contractor for the development of these school buildings and delivering cost effective school solutions for the nation’s schoolchildren.

The selected contractors will now work with the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and the schools to develop detailed designs and submit planning proposals for each scheme before building work begins in the spring.

Good progress is being made on the remaining 6 capital funded batches. The contractors on the EFA Contractors’ Framework will be invited to tender for these batches in January and February. The 261 schools to be rebuilt or renovated under the Priority Schools Building programme were announced in May 2012 and are available on the Department’s website.

Notes to editors

  1. Since 2010 this government has allocated £2.7 billion to local authorities to support the provision of new school places and £2.8 billion for the maintenance of the school estate to meet the needs of maintained schools and academies. Over the spending review period, the total capital made available for investment in schools in England will be about £18 billion.

  2. In order to ascertain the renovation needs of the schools estate in England, the Department for Education has been conducting a national programme of surveys, which should be available by autumn 2013. Information on the condition of all schools was last collated centrally in 2005.

  3. For media enquiries about Sir Robert McAlpine, please contact their media office on 01442 233 444.

  4. For media enquiries regarding Wates Construction, please contact Sam Hunter or Paul Browne at Spada on 0207 2691430.

DfE enquiries

Central newsdesk - for journalists 020 7783 8300

General enquiries - for members of the public 0370 000 2288

Published 31 January 2013