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Schools building programme funding announced

The first section of funding has been announced for the 21st Century Schools building programme in Wales. The total funding amounts to £1.4bn, with half the money provided by the councils.

The programme was originally expected to take three years to complete, with councils only contributing 30% of the funding. It will now be completed over seven years.

The winning projects include a £32m ‘super school’ in Llandysul, Ceredigion, 25 projects worth £132m in Cardiff and 14 rebuilds or refurbishments in Swansea.

Education Minister Leighton Andrews said: “Securing capital investment in these difficult economic times is essential not only for better education outcomes but for the continued support of our construction industry and the growth of our economy.”

David Evans, secretary of NUT Wales, voiced disappointment at the scaling back of the project: “We obviously welcome the money that will be spent, but there is no doubt that with such a difference in expenditure between what was originally proposed, and what is to be delivered, the impact that we can expect will not be as radical as hoped at the outset of the project.

“What will be delivered is a mend and make do programme that will not go far enough and may, in some circumstances, amount to nothing more than a false economy falling far short of the aim to deliver 21st century schools for this generation of school children.”

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