Work on the biggest transformation of secondary schools in Birmingham’s history is a step nearer with the announcement of a developer for the £1.2 billion scheme weeks away.
The 15-year project, the biggest in the country, will see all 82 secondary schools rebuilt or refurbished to provide 21st century learning for pupils.
Talks with the final two bidders – Land Securities Trillium and RM and Catalyst Education (Birmingham) – have closed and the city council has pledged to reveal the winner on December 16.
Cash for the revamp is coming from the Government’s multi-billion Building Schools for the Future programme which seeks to modernise out-of-date facilities at every secondary in the country by 2020.
In Birmingham, work will begin on a £140?million first phase which will target Broadway School in Perry Barr, Holte Secondary School in Lozells, Mayfield School in Handsworth and Stockland Green Technology College in Erdington.
Because of the number of secondary schools, work has been divided into six phases, prioritised to those in most urgent need.
The revamp will aim to ensure outdated buildings are fit to meet the learning demands of a more high-tech age.
Sylvia McNamara, director of transforming education at Birmingham City Council, said: “The Transforming Secondary Education programme provides us with the unique opportunity to create the right learning environment for secondary age students. This is one of the biggest projects in the country because of the size of Birmingham and we are proud to be leading the way. We are determined to ensure teaching and learning drive the building and procurement process.
“We have the incredibly important task of taking away the detailed information from the remaining two bidders and analysing every aspect in great detail.”
The Birmingham project includes six special schools and seven academies – schools that will pass from local authority control to designated sponsors.
It will ensure secondaries are able to deliver the new 14-19 curriculum which will introduce a raft of new vocational qualifications.
Councillor Les Lawrence (Con Northfield), Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “Building Schools for the Future means the complete transformation of secondary schools across the city, enabling us to provide innovative teaching and learning environments.
“With dialogue between bidders and ourselves now closed we have to scrutinise the bids provided with a fine tooth comb and make a decision that is going to benefit generations of learners, teachers and school staff for decades to come.”
The contract to the winning developer will be awarded at the end of March.