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European backing for 7 new schools in the Home Counties

The European Investment Bank has agreed to support construction of seven new secondary schools in Hertfordshire, Berkshire and Bedfordshire that will improve education facilities and school life for thousands of children in the Home Counties.

The seven schools include five in Hertfordshire, Kings Langley School, Westfield Academy in Watford, Bishop’s Hatfield Girls School, Goffs School in Cheshunt and Longdean School in Hemel Hempstead. Reading Girls School and Stopsley High School in Luton will also be supported under the new initiative.

The programme involves demolition of unused buildings, upgrading existing facilities and construction of new schools. Building work for the new schools is expected to start in the coming weeks.

Construction at the seven new schools is being supported by a GBP 63.3 million long-term loan from the European Investment Bank that represents around 40% of the overall project cost. 

The schools represent the second 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 twelve schools to be built in the north-east under the first batch of the Priority School Building Programme was confirmed earlier this month.

“The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting long-term investment that improves education across Europe.  Secondary school students across Hertfordshire, Berkshire and Bedfordshire will have an even better education in the future following today’s agreement. Local construction companies will also benefit from the construction work in these and other schools across the country under the wider Priority School Building Programme. Over recent years thousands of school, higher and further education students across the UK, have benefited from EIB backed investment in better facilities and modern learning environments.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice-President recently.

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.

Press Office

Richard Willis

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