�250m academy plans move forward
Susanna Wilkey AMBITIOUS �250million plans to transform Camden s secondaries have been given the final stamp of approval by the government. The Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme – which includes the creation of a new academy in Swiss Cottage –
AMBITIOUS �250million plans to transform Camden's secondaries have been given the
final stamp of approval by the government.
The Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme - which includes the creation of a new academy in Swiss Cottage - is now moving full steam ahead after Camden Council's business case was given the green light.
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The borough's plans, strategies, visions and costings were approved by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the treasury has agreed to release the cash.
It means the controversial UCL-sponsored academy is on course to open its doors in 2011 - albeit in temporary buildings.
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Schools boss Cllr Andrew Mennear said: "I am really pleased that our visionary plans are starting to come to fruition.
"We planned from the beginning to have our new academy ready to open in 2011 and it looks as though we will hit our target. This means that we can start transforming learning in Camden to the benefit of all our young people."
The first phase of the programme, starting in September next year, will see the creation of the new academy and the expansion of South Camden Community School.
The second phase, starting in June 2011, will see money pumped into Acland Burghley, William Ellis, Maria Fidelis and Hampstead schools.
And the third phase, beginning in January 2012, will put cash into Camden School for Girls, Parliament Hill, La Sainte Union and two pupil referral units. The scheme involves providing new or redesigned school buildings and computer equipment and aims to increase secondary places.
Cllr Mennear added: "This is not just good news for schools, this is also great news for local companies which are involved in bidding for the work.
"This could lead to greater employment opportunities for local people and could be a big boost to the local economy."
A recent BSF bidders' day event was held at the Holiday Inn at Camden Lock and attracted more than 200 people from 120 companies. The council also held a workshop on buying in locally-based services and recruiting local people to encourage bidders to consider how to best benefit the Camden economy and to include this in their proposal. The building programme will also provide a range of apprenticeship-style job opportunities for Camden school leavers.
Contracts available for companies include design, construction, providing ICT and ICT services, and facilities management.
Companies are currently invited to express interest in bidding and three will be shortlisted in June 2009. For more information on BSF visit www.camden.gov. uk/bsf.