SOME schools in the North will receive a share of £2.2bn in the first part of a scheme to refurbish or rebuild every secondary school in England.

A bid by Newcastle, and a joint bid by Gateshead and South Tyneside, will see £100m to £200m invested in their school buildings.

An estimated 180 schools across the country will benefit in the first wave of the Government's Building Schools for the Future program, with building due to start in next year.

South Tyneside Borough Council is in line to receive its biggest boost to education, having secured £136m to refurbish every school in its area, with Gateshead Council getting £36m to refurbish two schools.

Council leader Paul Waggott said: "This is an announcement of major significance and it will contribute to the transformation of South Tyneside for the next 50 years.

South Tyneside projects will include new buildings and remodelling at Mortimer, Hebburn, Harton, St Joseph's and St Wilfrid's Schools as well as King George V, Brinkburn and Jarrow schools.

Sunderland City Council is to receive £179m, including £73m for eight earmarked secondary schools in the first stage, in 2005 and 2006.

Education director Barbara Comiskey described it as, "wonderful news, and a huge accolade for the city".

Durham County Council missed out on the first wave of funding. Council leader Ken Manton said last night it was a "huge disappointment".

He said he would be seeking immediate talks with the Government and the county's MPs to argue the council's case.