New wave of BSF announced

Schools minister Jim Knight has announced three new Building Schools for the Future (BSF) waves.

The new waves will see 600 school remodelling projects from 50 local authorities happen over the next 15 years. From January 2007 and as part of wave four, 15 local authorities can start fully planning the refurbishment of local schools. The first schools from the new waves will be opened by 2009/10.

Schools minister Knight said, “We have assessed these local authorities on their ability to deliver using tough criteria. We are now working hard with our delivery agency, Partnerships for Schools and our other partners to ensure that every local authority will deliver these projects on time and on budget.”

The authorities involved in Wave 4 of BSF for the first time are Barking & Dagenham, Cambridgeshire, Coventry, Essex, Hertfordshire, Telford & Wrekin, Rochdale, Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham, and Somerset. The remainder of Wave 4 have previously been involved in BSF are Bristol, Haringey, Kent, Manchester, and Sheffield.

Wave 5 sees first time BSF users from Derby City, Camden, St Helens, Blackpool, Hartlepool, Ealing, Wolverhampton, Wandsworth, and Kensington & Chelsea. Local authorities from Bradford, Birmingham, Greenwich, Lambeth, Liverpool, Newham, Nottingham City, Sandwell, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest have previously had projects included in the first three waves.

The sixth wave will see new BSF users from Doncaster, NE Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Bournemouth with Poole, Kirklees, Hilingdon, Hammersmith & Fulham, Redcar & Cleveland, Halton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, and Stockton on Tees. Durham and Luton are the remaining authorities in Wave 6 and have worked with BSF before. Derbyshire and Southwark projects due for Waves 4-6 have become extended Wave 3 projects.

Tim Byles, Chief executive of Partnerships for Schools, said: “The quality of submissions from local authorities was high, and their demonstrated ‘readiness to deliver’ means that we are poised to move forward with Wave Four early in the New Year.”

Overall, 39 local authorities and 360 schools are already actively engaged in the first three waves of BSF. The first BSF-procured school has opened in Solihull, and schools in other areas will open from September 2007. The investment is part of the overall transformation in schools capital funding which has risen from just £683m in 1996-97 to £6.4bn in 2007-08, which is expected to rise by £8bn annually for 2010-2011.