A SMALL TOWN in Essex is one of the testing grounds for a pound;7 billion scheme, which will change the look of primary education in England.
Heads at Wickford near Southend have agreed to trial an inter-age education centre as part of a pilot project designed to improve primary standards by spending money on buildings.
Essex council was one of 23 authorities chosen to pilot the primary capital programme.
Under the scheme, which begins in April 2009, 8,000 primary schools in England will be rebuilt or revamped. In Essex, pound;6.5million will be spent setting up a collaborative learning centre for the area's 11 primaries, one special school and two secondaries for improvement in ICT. Each primary will get money for its own capital project.
Louise Playford, primary capital programme manager for Essex, said: "We are not going to rebuild schools as part of the pilot phase. By pooling resources, we can build a centre which all the schools can use. It is about more than having lessons elsewhere, the idea is that schools come and work together on activities that they would not normally do within their schools."