PFI contract is sealed

Merton Council’s six community Secondary schools will have something other than Christmas to celebrate this term, as Monday 25 November saw the London Borough of Merton signing a PFI contract with the NewSchools Consortium.

The Secondary schools PFI scheme is one strand of the huge Schools Reorganisation Project undertaken by Merton, that saw schools moving from a three tier to a two tier system in September 2002.

Schools Reorganisation aims to raise standards in Merton’s schools, as well as promote SEN inclusion and radically enhance the community Secondary schools via PFI.

The NewSchools Consortium (comprising Atkins, Wates and Innisfree) will be working on the extension, remodelling and refurbishment of the six schools, and will undertake all facilities management in the schools for the next 27 years. The work carried out at the schools will provide state of the art facilities for all the Secondary students of Merton.

Councillor Geraldine Stanford, Cabinet Member for Education & Lifelong Learning, said: “We are thrilled to have reached financial close on the PFI project.

“This marks the culmination of nearly two years of work, and I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to reach this point, including the project team, elected members, Headteachers, school staff and governors.

“I know I speak for everyone when I say that we look forward to providing superb facilities for Secondary education to the young people of Merton.”

Now the contract has been signed, Wates Construction will begin work on site, with demolition taking place on some sites almost immediately. Schools have been involved in every aspect of the works taking place and have had full input into the new designs for their buildings. The works will be completed at all schools by the end of 2004.