Headlines: September 14th, 2011

Liverpool City Council is to use a new design concept to halve the cost of building schools. They will be built under a structure similar to a modern airport terminal building. This will reduce the cost of a traditional build by about half. The concept also offers more flexibility as the internal layout and even the entire use of the site can be changed in the future.

In summer 2010 the Government axed Wave Six of the Building Schools for the Future scheme, which would have seen £350 million spent rebuilding or refurbishing schools in Liverpool. The Leader of the Council wrote to the Prime Minister to withdraw the support of the Council for the Big Society. Liverpool is one of four councils chosen as a vanguard area to spearhead development of the Big Society initiative. In his letter to David Cameron, Council Leader Joe Anderson said none of the promises made to remove barriers had been delivered and the loss of funding will severely affect voluntary and community groups.

Following the withdrawal of funding the Council commissioned a Task Force to look at a rescue package to see how the city could deliver more for less in the absence of funding. The Task force recommended a new approach to building schools which will improve education, boost the local economy and build stronger local communities.

The Council will work with its partners, the Dioceses and private developers to deliver Phase One of the original building programme. But completion of Phase Two will require financial assistance from the Government. The council is seeking to convince the Department for Education that it deserves a contribution from Whitehall.