Cumbria County Council is delighted that the government has given the go ahead for the county to join the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme which will see a first wave of £61.5m invested in education in the county.
The Department for Children Schools and Families confirmed yesterday that the county council's bid to join the BSF programme has now been successful. Last month the Government said that Cumbria would be next in line for BSF investment, but some areas of the county's bid needed to be worked on and there was no certainty on when Cumbria would receive the investment.
Cumbria County Council has been working closely with the Government's school building agency, Partnership for Schools, on the details of this complex and challenging project and to strengthen the capacity to deliver it. The additional work carried out over the last month has meant that the county's bid has now been accepted to join the next wave of BSF.
The county council can now begin drawing up a more detailed strategy for change which will involve formulating detailed costings and working with individual schools on how they will help deliver the work programme.
The £61.5m will be targeted at five secondary schools, a special school and a Pupil Referral Unit, with work due to start 2013/14 and be completed by 2015/16.
The county council is still planning to submit a proposal for investment worth £100 million for the next wave of BSF to cover other schools in the county two to three years later.
The council is committed to work closely with all key stakeholders to ensure the transformation will provide centres of excellence which cater to the learning needs of young people in west Cumbria for generations to come.
Consultation is already underway with residents in west Cumbria to gauge opinions on the BSF plans with more detailed opportunities planned in the near future.
Jill Stannard, chief executive of Cumbria County Council, said:
"This is fantastic news and moves us a step closer to realising our dream to transform not just education but also services to the wider community in west Cumbria. We will be working closely with schools, local communities, business and other key organisations to make sure the transition into excellence does happen. This will help bring lasting benefits to Cumbria and its communities.
"The BSF programme provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the delivery of learning and present the chance to create state-of-the-art facilities in which our young people can thrive and reach their full potential. It will allow Cumbria County Council to build on existing strengths and raise aspirations and achievement across the county. BSF will also have a positive economic effect through its contribution to plans for the regeneration of Cumbrian communities."
Moira Swann, director of children's services at Cumbria County Council, said:
"Reaching this milestone is a great achievement. We are committed, through BSF, to making a real difference to both young people and adults in terms of their standards of education and resulting qualifications, jobs, and achieving success.
ďThe idea with BSF is to change how we use space and the role of schools. Itís not just about the facilities themselves, itís about rethinking the role of the school at the heart of the community. We are clear in our aspirations for the future and that means placing the learner at the centre of all that we do. We want all young people in Cumbria to have access to appropriate, high quality education in the community that enables them to achieve the skills, knowledge and qualities to become responsible and successful citizens.Ē
The county councilís media office is closed today (April 6th) so urgent calls can be made to Gareth Cosslett on 07973 811206 or tomorrow on the usual media office number 01228 226337.