Joy as Leeds school schemes get the go-ahead

Council bosses in Leeds are celebrating after £40m plans to revamp three high schools got the go-ahead.

Proposals for the final three schools in the Leeds Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme were thrown into doubt earlier this year because of government spending cuts.

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Schools in Leeds have benefited from a 250m investment through BSF – but when the Government called for the remaining projects to be cut by up to 40 per cent, it was feared schemes for Mount St Mary's Catholic

High School, Corpus Christi Catholic College and the new buildings for the mixed academy at Parklands Girls' High School would not go ahead.

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Revised costs were submitted in November by Education Leeds and now Partnerships for Schools – which is delivering the BSF programme on behalf of the Government – has confirmed that all three will go ahead, with cuts of five per cent to the Corpus Christi and Mount St Mary's cash and 25 per cent to the Parklands budget.

While less money is being made available, the decision signals the go-ahead for the new co-educational academy, which will replace Parklands Girls' High School in September 2011, and the new buildings and refurbishment at Corpus Christi and Mount St Mary's.

Coun Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said: "This is great news for Corpus Christi, Mount St Mary's and Parklands.

"The Local Education Partnership, which includes Education Leeds and Leeds City Council, has worked exceptionally hard to realise the Government's savings while still providing the best possible new school facilities for young people at these three schools.

"This has really paid off and all three schools and local communities can now look forward to fantastic new learning environments."

Nigel Richardson, the city's director of Children's Services, said: "I'm pleased we have reached an agreement with the Government which will ensure these three schools will still benefit from BSF improvements.

"Young people at all three can now look forward to learning in the new facilities which will also provide valuable amenities to local communities.

"We will now work to move these projects on so the new school buildings are available for use as quickly as possible."

Work is due to start at Corpus Christi and Mount St Mary's in April 2011. Work is set to begin at Parklands in September 2011.

The council says the benefits associated with BSF schemes include cutting-edge learning technology and bright, open and safe spaces.

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