London, Midlands and east of England schools come to market with bidders day for £65m worth of schools work in North-west next week

Priority schools

The procurement of directly funded schools under the Priority Schools Building Programme has gathered pace, with another batch of work released to market this week and two more expected by the end of next week.

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.

Forty-two of the 261 schools included in the programme will be directly funded by the government using capital grant, and be procured in eight batches.

Procurement of the first two batches - Midlands 1 and the North-east - began in October 2012.

As revealed by Building, Sir Robert McAlpine and Bam have been shortlisted for the North-east, and Wates and Bam for Midlands 1. A decision on both is expected at the end of this month.

However, as expected, the private finance element of the priority schools programme - which will use the government’s revamped PF2 model of private finance - is not set to come to market until Spring as the Education Funding Agency works through the details of the new finance model.

As Building exclusively revealed last August, the private finance element of the priority schools programme, initially expected in April last year then pushed back to “late summer”, was put back to the first quarter of 2013, after being hit by a series of delays.