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Lambeth’s Building Schools for the Future programme reaches important landmark

Elm Court SchoolLambeth Council’s award-winning Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project has moved closer to the second phase of its ambitious £300m investment programme which will increase secondary school places by 50 per cent within five years.

Lambeth Cabinet has passed the decision to make Engage the selected bidder and to move toward completing contracts with them by August 2010. The decision was announced at a cabinet meeting on Monday, 22 March following eight months of intensive negotiations between the council and bidders.

The second phase will ensure all schools in the borough boast bright and exciting learning environments and will involve another new school, one rebuild, and substantial refurbishment or extension of Lambeth’s ten remaining secondary schools. Phase one of the programme, which began in 2007, included the rebuilding of four existing secondary schools, The Michael Tippett School, Park Campus, Elm Court School, Stockwell Park High School, and the construction of the new Elmgreen School. School expansion will be given a massive boost when the second phase is complete – with an approximately 50 per cent increase in school provision in the borough through the BSF and the Academies programme, creating 3,715 new secondary school places and four new secondary schools in the decade 2004 to 2014. Phase 2 alone will create 1,615 new places.

Mike Pocock, Director of the Lambeth BSF programme, said: “Lambeth’s BSF programme is recognised nationally as leading one of the most successful school investment programmes in the country. The BSF project has won several awards for architecture, design, and innovation, and I’m certain the team will receive further recognition in future years. The sheer scale, vision, and level of ambition of this project, means Lambeth’s children and young people will be given the best possible start to life.”

Engage is a consortium including construction company May Gurney and design specialists NPS. May Gurney Chief Executive, Philip Fellowes-Prynne, said: “We are delighted to be working with Lambeth Council to deliver its ten-year BSF programme. This long-term partnership ably demonstrates May Gurney’s expertise in bringing together the right organisations with the right skills to deliver bundled services for local authorities and the communities they serve.”

Tim Byles, Chief Executive of Partnerships for Schools, the government agency responsible for managing the Building Schools for the Future programme nationwide, added: “Reaching this milestone is excellent news for Lambeth’s young people, teachers and local communities and is a testament to Lambeth Council’s success to date in delivering transformed schools and state-of-the-art technologies through the Building Schools for the Future programme. At its heart, BSF is about improving the life chances for all young people, whatever their background, whatever their needs. I look forward to seeing Lambeth’s progress.”

Lambeth’s BSF programme is no stranger to success. It was crowned ‘Local Authority of the Year’ at last year’s national BSF awards, as well as receiving awards for ‘Innovation in PE and Sport’ for development of the facilities at Park Campus. On the same night Elm Court School took the title of ‘Best Design’ for a remodeled school. The programme also received a commendation for its work with special educational needs.

Lambeth’s BSF programme also created the world’s first sports hall constructed entirely out of recycled shipping containers at Dunraven School, and built the brand new school building for the country’s first ever parent-promoted school, The Elmgreen School which was opened in September 2009.

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