Education Funding Agency to release trajectory of early batches of £1.75bn privately-financed Priority Schools alongside first procurement

Mike Green EFA

The Education Funding Agency is aiming to release details of forthcoming batches of the £1.75bn privately-financed element of its Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP) when it tenders the first group of schools this spring, it said today.

The EFA’s director for programme delivery, Mike Coleman, said at a conference in London this morning that he would “try to give information on the batches closely behind” the first group of schools when it is procured.

As Building first revealed last August, the EFA is aiming to release the first group of schools in the first part of this year – nearly a year later than originally expected – with the delay largely a result of the government’s work to reform PFI.

Coleman confirmed that, like the directly funded element of the PSBP, batches of schools procured under the government’s new PFI model, PF2, would be grouped on a geographical basis.

He added that batches would usually contain a combination of primary and secondary schools. Coleman said that where a batch was made up of predominately primary schools, which are of lower value to contractors than secondary, the EFA would “try to scale it to make it more commercially attractive.”

Also at the event, organised by Partnerships Bulletin, the EFA’s director of capital Mike Green (pictured) said that the delivery body was still considering whether to follow a route of programme level or project level finance for the PF2 schools.

The news comes as the pace quickens on the procurement of the directly-funded element of the PSBP, with another batch of work released to market this week and two more expected by the end of next week.

As Building revealed today, the London batch, worth in the region of £50m, was released for preliminary invitation to tender on Monday, with two more - Midlands 2 and East of England - expected to be issued next week. These batches are expected to be worth about £30m and £23m respectively.

In addition, it is expected that bidders’ days for the two batches of schools in the North-west - thought to be worth a total of about £65m - will also be held next week.