Providing 110,000 pupils with new facilities and buildings is something to be proud of

Across the country school bells have been ringing in the new school year - and for almost 110,000 young people this September, that means going back to a learning environment which has benefitted from BSF investment - be it new build, a refurbishment or with improved ICT to enhance learning and teaching.

The first day back is something we all remember - the mixture of fear and excitement swirling in the pit your stomach. But I hope the anxiety of what the year ahead will bring and the nervousness about meeting new friends and being taught by new teachers will be alongside the genuine thrill of entering a new school building, seeing new facilities and using new resources.

It was something that the foreign secretary David Miliband - who as schools minister in 2003 launched the BSF programme - saw first hand on his visit to Westminster City School this week. Sixth formers who had seen construction all around then, including beneath their feet for a new underground gym and drama studio, were visibly amazed by the transformation which had taken place in their school.

David Maloney and David Miliband at the Westminster City School

Thirty-four more schools across England - including the first academies to be delivered as part of BSF - open their doors this month bringing the total number of schools to have received investment through BSF to 121 in 33 local authorities.

Many of the schools and academies opening their doors for the first time this month really challenge the notion of what a school looks like or who it's for. Sunderland's academies - some of the first to be delivered by the PfS National Framework - are not just about learning, but encourage students to experience the world of business and innovation for themselves.

Colleagues at PfS who were treated recently to a preview of Sunderland's three academies and one school in the run up to opening day were impressed by how the vision of the local authority, school leaders, pupils and their parents had been captured and made a reality.

Academy 360, Sunderland

Like BSF schools across the country the latest Leeds schools - Swallow Hill Community College and Allerton Grange - will be great additions to the communities they serve with performing arts, sporting, library and social areas available for use outside school hours.

BSF is about giving every young person in England - not just the 110,000 to benefit to date - a fresh start and new opportunities, and when combined with strong leadership, an energised teaching staff and engaged parents, I am sure the results will be something this country can be proud of for many years to come.