Aedas and Ellis Williams look set to bag up to half a dozen new academy projects in Manchester following the announcement of a groundbreaking deal between the city council and the government.
Schools minister Andrew Adonis has approved plans which will see the local authority underwrite the cost of three new academies instead of central government.
The initiative, which gives Manchester control of the choice of the academies' 'specialities', also promises another to deliver another three super-schools - although exact details have yet to be finalised.
Delivered through the Manchester Local Education Partnership, the council will use the existing framework contractors Laing O'Rourke and Balfour Beatty, and their respective architects Ellis Williams and Aedas, to build the new academies.
Among the first three confirmed academy projects will be the East Manchester Academy, specialising in construction and the built environment, which will actually be sponsored by Laing O'Rourke and Bovis Lend Lease.
The others are the Manchester Health Academy and the Manchester Airport Academy which will concentrate on business and enterprise incorporating leisure, travel and tourism.
Academies sponsored by the Co-op, BT and BBC are also thought to be in the pipeline.
City Council leader Richard Leese said: 'The academies will be at the heart of regenerating secondary education in the city thanks to the multi-academy model pioneered by Manchester.
He added: 'We are proud of the partnership between Manchester and the government to bring this about - a model which other conurbations are following to similar advantage. It is full of hope for the future.'by Richard Waite