A GROUND breaking scheme to build seven new schools in the Bromsgrove district has been given a further boost after being short-listed for two prestigious awards.

Bromsgrove Schools PFI is in the hunt for two 4Ps Excellence in Local Government PPP prizes at a special ceremony at the end of the month.

The £63 million project, which will create seven new schools in five locations around the district, is in the running for design excellence and best project team at the awards night, which will be held in London on Thursday, June 28.

The 4Ps' judging panel said that, in what was a high calibre field of entries, the judges took the view that the county council's entry demonstrated an outstanding ability to address each of the selection criteria.

The news is an extra boost ahead of the official opening of Sidemoor First School today (Wednesday) - the first of the schools to be completed.

The other schools are Parkside Middle, Meadows First, Alvechurch Middle, Crown Meadow First, North Bromsgrove High and South Bromsgrove High.

Councillor George Lord, leader of the county council and a Marlbrook resident, said: "This is an achievement which is very well deserved and I am very proud of the fact that this is the best PFI agreement in the country. Seven schools are going to benefit from this, with 21st century buildings and improved library facilities in two of them. The official opening of Sidemoor heralds an exciting time for education in Bromsgrove. The quality of buildings have been linked to educational achievement, so this should help us to raise standards, which is a county council priority."

The two high schools should be completed in August, while the joint-site schools for Parkside/Meadows and Alvechurch/Crown Meadow are due for opening in March next year.