LOCAL schools received a massive £1 million cash boost this week.

Two dozen schools will share £650,000 to pay for vital improvement work, from buying new boilers to replacing leaking roofs under the Government's New Deal for Schools programme.

And another £400,000 will be used for high tech equipment to link local schools to the National Grid for Learning.

Councillor David Ryder, Bury's chairman of education, said the financial boost was "very good news".

"We have got a lot of what we have bid for," he said. "The Government is doing what it said it would do."

This is the second time the borough has received cash under the New Deal for schools and Coun Ryder said they could now plan spending to improve school buildings better then ever before.

"If I had told officers 12 months ago that we would have one-and-a-quarter million pounds to spend on improving school buildings they would have laughed," he said. "Yet this is what we have had."

Coun Ryder said the way the Government asked for bids made it very easy to plan for the future.

"This time we knew they wanted bids for urgent repairs and basic health and safety improvements, and that is what we got," he said.

Coun Ryder was also tremendously excited by the £393,713 Bury has received for the National Grid for Learning.

Teachers will now have direct access to the latest ideas and best practice in teaching via the Internet.

Language teachers will be able to link with other countries, and teachers will be able to share ideas to improve standards instantly.

The cash for the hardware to set up the system will be followed by training for staff to use the grid.

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