Schools delivery body Partnerships for Schools has launched a £2bn framework to build flagship city academies.
Partnerships for Schools, which also runs the £60bn Building Schools for the Future programme, aims to appoint six to 10 contractors.
The advertisement inviting bidders, which was placed in the European Union's Official Journal last week, says the building value will be between £1.2bn and 2bn over the next 15 years. Bidders will be shortlisted in June.
Richard Bowker, Partnerships for Schools' chief executive, told Building that the framework would be used only in areas that did not have Building Schools for the Future funding.
In funded areas the academies will become part of that programme, which aims to rebuild or refurbish 3500 secondary schools. Bowker said he expected the framework to have £1.6bn of work. He added: "To me it's just a basic design-and-build call-up framework that will enable us to get to market. So, I think that we are going to be able to inject some pace into the programme."
To me it’s just a basic design-and-build call-up framework to get to market quickly
Bowker was speaking to Building for an interview to be published next week.
He said that he believed that 12 Building Schools for the Future schemes would choose a preferred bidder for private sector partners by the end of the financial year and that 12 would reach financial close. At present there are only four schemes that have selected a preferred bidder.
He added that he hoped to speed up construction work on the first three waves of school schemes that reach the market. Construction inflation runs at £9m a month on these waves, and Bowker is hoping to reduce that figure. Bowker also revealed plans to expand Partnerships for Schools as a result of taking over responsibility for City Academies. It has a staff in the low 60s, but this will grow to 80.