Wales

£2.3bn investment for modernising schools in Wales

School pupils (generic)

The second stage of a multi-billion pound programme to modernise schools in Wales has been given the go-ahead.

The investment comes as part of the Welsh Government's 21st Century Schools programme which was launched in 2014.

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said a further £2.3bn has been earmarked for the next wave of the programme.

83 schools have been completed and 45 are under construction as part of the first stage of the programme.

The first five-year phase of investment - Band A - is due to end in 2019 after an overall spend of about £1.4bn, with councils and the Welsh Government sharing the costs.

The programme aims to address the condition of educational buildings and the growth in demand for Welsh medium education, whilst expanding areas with increased demand.

Ms Williams said the government will support plans put forward by councils to build or modernise schools from April 2019.

During the opening of a new Welsh medium primary school in Holyhead on Anglesey, Ms Williams said the programme represented "the largest investment in our schools and colleges since the 1960s".

Projects for the second phase of the programme - Band B - have been approved. However, as well as capital funding, the scheme involves a new funding model which could see the government paying a fee to private companies to build and maintain schools.

The government said the new model, called the Mutual Investment Model, is an innovative way of financing capital projects at a time when funding is scarce.

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