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Work begins on Bedminster Down School

Letter from Westminster - 6 September 2004

The pupils might have only just returned, but the work certainly did not stop at one local school this summer. For the first time in over thirty years, a brand new secondary school is being built in Bristol South, to replace Bedminster Down's ageing buildings.

Faced with a huge repairs backlog when we came to power, Labour's first priority was to provide headteachers and councils with the money needed to catch up with some of the more basic maintenance issues neglected by the Tories. After a five-fold increase in investment in school buildings, and over 20,000 schools receiving major improvements, it is clear that we are making good progress.

But we want to do more than simply patch things up. With a clear link between modern well-maintained schools and high levels of pupil achievement, our aim is to provide surroundings that inspire and motivate. We need to radically transform our school buildings to create environments in which teachers want to teach and pupils want to learn.

By increasing capital investment to a record £6.78 billion in 2007/08, Labour is embracing this new approach and has pledged that, by 2015, every secondary school can be refurbished or rebuilt. Bristol is at the forefront of this transformation, with Bedminster Down one of eleven local secondary schools scheduled for attention over the next few years. I look forward to work starting on the others before too long, so that the days of crumbling classrooms can be brought to an end once and for all.

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