Press release

First day of construction under the Priority School Building Programme

Construction gets underway at the first school to be rebuilt under the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP).

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

First day of construction at Whitmore Primary School
EFA Chief Executive Peter Lauener joins Wates and Coventry Council to present Whitmore Primary School in Coventry with a commemorative spade to celebrate the the start of construction.

Construction will begin today at the first school to be rebuilt under the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), the Education Funding Agency (EFA) announced.

Whitmore Primary School in Coventry will benefit from a £4.89 million rebuild as part of the government’s £2.4 billion programme.

Contractors from Wates Construction - appointed by the EFA in January this year - arrived on site today and expect to complete the rebuild, ahead of the original schedule, by Easter 2014.

The announcement marks a significant step in the PSBP, the programme to rebuild 261 of the schools in England in the worst condition. Procurement of the work was completed in just 26 weeks.

In total, 261 schools were confirmed in May 2012 to have been successful in their application to the programme, and contractors have been selected for all 8 of the original capital-funded batches.

Wates is also developing the designs for 3 other primary schools, a secondary school and a special school, all of which form part of a £36 million batch of schools in the midlands.

In a ceremony to mark the commencement of work, Peter Lauener, chief executive of the EFA, said:

I am delighted to be able to join students and staff at Whitmore Park at the start of construction works for the first school to be rebuilt as part of the Priority School Building Programme. This promises to be an exciting phase in the school’s development.

We are making excellent progress with this programme, with building works starting across the country in the coming weeks and months as we overhaul the schools with the greatest need and help ensure young people can learn in buildings that are up to scratch.

Caroline Kiely, Executive headteacher at Whitmore Primary School, said:

We are excited that this badly-needed work is beginning on our school. It is really good news for the local community and will mean the children of Whitmore Park will soon have a lovely new school to learn in.

Phil Harrison, Managing Director for Wates Construction, Midlands and North, said:

The start of construction at Whitmore Park is the beginning of a new phase in the delivery of the government’s flagship Priority School Building Programme. The building works are intended to deliver much-needed new facilities in Coventry and we have and will continue to keep very close consultation with both the EFA and Coventry Council to ensure these essential works serve to positively impact the educational experience for the city’s teachers and young people.

Notes to editors

Schools included in the midlands batch to be rebuilt by Wates Construction are:

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

The 8 batches and their contractors are:

  • North East: Sir Robert McAlpine
  • Midlands 1: Wates Construction Ltd
  • Midlands 2: BAM Construction Ltd
  • London: BAM Construction Ltd
  • North West 1: Carillion Construction
  • South: Kier Regional Ltd
  • East: Wates
  • North West 2: Willmott Dixon

The Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) is a centrally managed programme set up to address the condition of the schools most in need of urgent repair. Through the PSBP, 261 schools will be rebuilt or have their condition needs met. The first school will be completed in 2014.

The EFA announced 5 batches of privately-financed schools to be re-built under the PSBP recently.

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.

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Published 24 May 2013