SCHOOLS in Worcestershire will receive almost £50m to improve facilities over the coming year.

The cash has been ring-fenced by Worcestershire County Council to upgrade sites, build new schools and for large-scale reviews, such as in special educational needs (SEN).

A further £220m has been pledged for future developments, including the Wyre Forest Review, where the county is looking to replace three-tier education with two-tier schools at an initial cost of £50m.

The county has also bid for £110m of Government money, which will hopefully help fund improvements planned in around 30 other schools.

Among the projects are new school buildings for Fairfield Community Primary and Red Hill CE Primary schools, both in Worcester, and £5m for the city's SEN review.

The new science block at The Chase Technology College, Malvern, which will replace temporary accommodation at the school, is also costing around £3.8m.

Alex Wall, headteacher at Fairfield Community Primary, in Fairfield Close, Brickfields, said the redevelopment would be a huge boost.

"The access road to the school has now been completed and we are starting to see some real changes," he said.

"The new school is due to open in Easter 2006 and it's getting quite exciting now.

"We are looking forward to the move and have been meeting with architects and painters. We have even chosen the interior designs and planned for the IT capabilities.

"It will be a real important day for everyone here when we move across."

Councillor Andy Roberts, cabinet member for education, also welcomed the funding pledge.

"I am delighted we've been able to find funding in our drive to raise educational standards across the county," he said.

"This high level of commitment to schools by the county council shows how we continue to prioritise education and the need to invest in our children's future."