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pound;7bn for facelifts

Primaries in 23 local authorities are to receive funding to improve their school buildings.

This week the Government announced pound;150 million to help remodel primary schools. Priorities include kitchens and modernising sports, music and information technology facilities. New classrooms will be eco-friendly.

The funding comes as part of a 15-year pound;7 billion programme, which will be introduced in April 2009. The aim is to restore the buildings in 8,000 of England's 18,000 primaries.

Announcing the initiative, Jim Knight, the schools minister, said: "We are sweeping away the legacy of decades of under-investment.

"Inspiring, purpose-built buildings are a key part of providing an inspiring education to transform the learning environment of our youngest pupils."

Many primaries are more than 25 years old: 60 per cent were built between 1945 and 1976.

The Government received 85 applications from local authorities wanting to be involved in the pilot. The 23 chosen include Birmingham, Cornwall and North Tyneside. They were selected for their realistic project proposals.

Chris Davis, of the National Primary Headteachers' Association, said: "If pupils are surrounded by high-quality buildings and facilities, that tends to rub off on their attitude. Primary schools have long been the poor relation in this respect."

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