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European backing for 11 new schools in North West England

More than seven thousand children across the North West will benefit from new schools to be constructed with significant financial support from the European Investment Bank.  The eleven new build schools will be built on existing school sites in Blackpool, Wigan, Birkenhead, Chester, Manchester and Stockport. They represent the third batch of 46 new state primary and secondary schools to be built across the country under the Priority School Building Programme.

Construction at the eleven new schools is being supported by a GBP 50.7 million long-term loan from the European Investment Bank that represents around 40% of the overall project cost. 

Building work for the schools will start in the coming weeks and include both the demolition of redundant buildings and construction of new classroom, canteen and administration facilities.

“Today’s agreement enables construction of new schools across the north-west of England that will improve education facilities and benefit local construction companies as part of the wider Priority School Building Programme. The European Investment Bank has a strong track record of supporting new hospitals, as well as crucial water, transport, energy, higher education and social housing investment across the North West. We look forward to confirming support for new projects in the region in the coming months as part of our commitment to backing long-term investment in the UK.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice-President.

The eleven schools to benefit from new investment include 5 secondary schools, the South Shore Academy in Blackpool, the Deanery Church of England High School in Wigan, Ridgeway High School in Prenton, Blacon High School in Chester and Neston High School.

The 6 primary schools to benefit from new buildings under the programme include Hawes Side Primary School in Blackpool, Dee Point Primary School and J.H. Godwin Primary School in Blacon, Bedford Drive Primary School in Birkenhead, Bridge Hall Primary School in Stockport and Plymouth Grove Primary School in Chorlton on Medlock, Manchester.

The schools represent the third batch of the broader Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) that will support construction of a total of 46 new state primary and secondary schools across England. The European Investment Bank will provide around GBP 274 million for the overall programme under a 25 year lending agreement.

Support for 19 schools to be built in the north-east and home-counties under the first two batches of the Priority School Building Programme were confirmed earlier this month.

By grouping school development schemes aggregating funding requirements, the Education Funding Agency has been able to access cheaper finance, and streamline procurement for each batch of schools. 

The PSBP is a centrally managed programme set up to address the needs of the schools most in need of urgent repair. Through the programme, 260 schools will be rebuilt or have their condition needs met by the Education Funding Agency (EFA). Senior debt will be provided by the European Investment Bank and senior bonds subscribed for by Aviva Annuity UK Limited.

Aviva Investors and the European Investment Bank are each expected to provide around 50% of senior debt and INPP will provide mezzanine debt. Amber Infrastructure will act as Loan Administration Agent and Corporate Services Provider. Ashurst LLP (legal) and HSBC (financial) have advised the EFA on the procurement of the aggregator. 

In the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided nearly GBP 2.5 billion for education investment across the UK. This has included support for university campus development in Edinburgh, York, Strathclyde, Swansea, Aston, Birmingham and Kent and backing for construction of new vocational training buildings at the City of Glasgow College. The EIB has supported school investment under the Building Schools for the Future programme in recent years as well as directly for nine schools in Newcastle under a local scheme.

Last year the European Investment Bank provided a record GBP 6 billion for long-term investment in key infrastructure across the UK including support for new hospitals, better water and sewerage infrastructure, renewable energy and energy transmission and private sector investment.


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