Bolton gets accepted on schools programme

Michael Hunt

Bolton Council has been told to move forward with the national Building Schools for the Future programme by the Government's Department for Children, Schools and Families.

The borough is set to receive £82.9m to refurbish and rebuild a number of its secondary schools as part of a first phase over the next three years.

Two additional bids of up to £80m each for work to then start on phase two and three schools have also been confirmed subject to the smooth delivery of phase one and the next comprehensive spending review.

Combined with a further £20m towards Information Communication Technology and £55m from the national academies programme, Bolton could see a potential total of over £300m funding for improving the town's secondary education.

Cllr Chris Thayne, executive member for children's services at Blackburn with Darwen, congratulated Bolton on their acceptance into the programme.

He said: "I'm delighted that our partnership working was seen as a positive in gaining Bolton's acceptance onto the BSF programme. We both have ambitious plans to transform the lives and learning of our secondary school age pupils and working together will drive those forward. We look forward to working even more closely with our partners on this fantastic opportunity."

Phase one schools include Bolton Muslim Girls School, Ladybridge High and Rumworth, Little Lever, Sharples, Smithills, Westhoughton and Firwood Special School.

Phasing of schools has been decided based on a number of factors including readiness to deliver BSF, current state of buildings and current levels of attainment.

Along with just over 30 local authorities Bolton Council will be asked to prove its readiness to deliver throughout March.

The Government will then give the official go ahead for the authorities they deem ready and confirm programme start dates.

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