SIXTH-FORM provision in Durham City has received a huge boost with a £3m windfall shared by two schools.

Target Capital Funding grants have been awarded to both St Leonard's RC School and Durham Sixth-Form Centre by the Department for Education and Skills.

St Leonard's will get £2.34m to develop a new sixth form block on its campus in North End.

The Sixth-Form Centre, which is the upper school of Durham Gilesgate Sports College, will be given £624,000 for a new library and resource centre at its premises near The Sands.

Durham MP Gerry Steinberg welcomed the funding and said it was a much-needed shot in the arm for education in the city.

He said: "It's very good news indeed.

"I have lobbied and lobbied for this money with the minister and to come up trumps on two fronts is tremendous. Demand for sixth-form places in the county has meant this money was very much needed.

"It is a huge investment for education in Durham and means we will be getting much-needed state-of-the-art facilities."

Graham Oak, chairman of governors at St Leonard's RC School, said he was absolutely delighted with the news.

He said: "The school has a mixture of buildings, some are much older than others.

"We have been under-resourced at sixth-form level and with this funding we are delighted to be providing a dedicated new sixth-form block on the site.

"The funding process is very competitive and we have done very well to get so much."

Durham Gilesgate Sports College head teacher Mike Brett was also thrilled with the cash windfall.

Mr Brett said: "The governors and everyone at the school welcome the resources and contribution it will make to the education of our 16 to 19-year-olds.

"This project has been live for 12 years and the money will now allow us to move out of a condemned old post office building.

"The school is contributing £100,000 towards this scheme which will mean a new resource centre and library will be developed and the old resource centre and library will be converted into classrooms."

The sixth-form centre will have 800 students on its roll in September, making it the third largest school sixth form in the country.

Mr Brett hopes the new facilities will be made available for the wider community.