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Building Schools for the Future 'not in crisis', says boss

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Tim Byles, the man responsible for delivering the government's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative, has issued assurances that the troubled programme is not in crisis.

Byles, chief executive of Partnerships for Schools (PfS), said that despite major setbacks at a local authority level, BSF is still on course.

Byles admitted recently that the £45 billion initiative, which aims to rebuild or revamp all of England's 3,500 secondary schools over a 15-year period, was hitting delays as local authorities were struggling with the sheer scale of some the projects.

But speaking to the AJ, he said: 'We are absolutely not in crisis. The first school is about to be delivered in Bristol in September, and six further projects, which include a number of schools, have reached financial close. A further eight are in the final stages of procurement.'

Byle's statement follows the formation of the Chief Executive Advisory Group, which will effectively aid local authorities that lack the resources to handle such projects.

The group will comprise eight local authority chief executives, who will share 'best practice' throughout the local government community.

Byles said: 'For a programme of this magnitude and vision it is only right that we take the time to reflect - collectively - on what has worked well and what we need to improve on.

'We are all learning from experience and should pride ourselves on continuous learning and improvement.'

by Richard Vaughan

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