Schools scheme is top of the class

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AN ‘end of term report’ on a five-year schools revamp project in South Tyneside has hailed it a major success.

The borough was one of the first in the country to get involved in Building Schools for the Future (BSF), introduced by the previous Labour government and pioneered by South Shields MP David Miliband.

The programme, which saw £163m spent in the borough, is credited with making South Tyneside’s schools fit for the 21st century.

In December 2007 South Tyneside Council entered into a partnership with Gateshead Council, Carillion Building, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Building Schools for the Future Investments (BSFi) to form a Local Education Partnership.

Since then, the borough’s secondary schools have been fully or partly rebuilt.

Although the coalition government is phasing out the programme, most of South Tyneside’s projects are now completed.

They include a total rebuild at Jarrow School, an extensive rebuild of Hebburn Comprehensive School and a half rebuild of Harton Technology College.

Tomorrow, members of the council’s jobs and enterprise select committee will examine the impact of the project and the benefits to the local economy.

A report to the committee says: “The halting of the programme by national government will have an adverse effect on the local economy. The majority of the building work is now complete and there are no new school projects for the construction workers to move on to.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul