The government has confirmed it aims to bring the procurement of its city academies more closely into line with the £2bn Building Schools for the Future programme.
The move is one of the anticipated outcomes of a current review by the Department for Education and Skills, which is responsible for the delivery of 200 city academies by 2010.
This could mean academies will be built more efficiently, and comes after criticism from the construction industry that each is individually procured.
Lord Adonis, the DfES minister who is leading the review, told Building that he was looking at ways to integrate the procurement of city academies, which are financed with £2m of initial funding from a private sponsor, and the BSF programme, which aims to rebuild or refurbish every secondary school in the country.
Adonis said that some sponsors working on city academies had started to form themselves more in to BSF-style frameworks, which are organised by public-private vehicles called Local Education Partnerships (LEPs).
He said: “We’ve been looking at ways to align BSF and city academies in a better way. The United Learning Trust [which sponsors six academies] is already starting to function like an LEP.”
We’ve been looking at ways to align Building Schools for the Future and city academies
Lord Andrew Adonis, DfES
Adonis’ words came as prime minister Tony Blair officially opened the City of London academy in Southwark and threw his weight behind delivering 200 academies by 2010.
Ty Goddard, chief executive of the not-for-profit company School Works, said that the key objectives for government were to make procurement more efficient and to ensure proper consultation with stakeholders.
He said: “We’ve got to ensure the UK construction industry isn’t spending millions to get itself into BSF. Any efficiencies that come on board have to be welcome.”