Headlines: November 21st, 1997

After a four month delay at the final contract stage, building is about to start on the Sir John Colfox School, in Bridport, Dorset. It has taken Dorset County Council and their private sector partner Jarvis plc eighteen months to reach agreement on the details of the contract. The school will be built and run using private finance and management expertise.Education and Employment Minister Kim Howells welcomed the signing of deal worth around £12 million in capital investment. He said: “Through this deal, Dorset County Council has shown the way for others to tap into private sector investment for the benefit of parents and children. The existing Colfox school suffers from design and maintenance problems – through PFI the people of Bridport will benefit from a new school in two years’ time. That would not have been possible without PFI.

The Government is determined to use private sector investment to bolster the extra funds – the New Deal for Schools – already committed to improving our school buildings. I am delighted that the Council has blazed the trail for others to follow and congratulate the Council, and their private sector partners.”

The preparatory work will begin immediately and the new buildings are due for completion by July 1999, ready for the September new school year.

The Department for Education and Employment is committed to providing up to £15.4m of revenue support for the project. Under a 30 year contract from Dorset local education authority, Jarvis will not only construct and maintain the new buildings, they will also look after the grounds and provide catering and other support facilities.