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Blackburn BSF selects Preferred Bidder

29 October 2009

Capita Symonds has been appointed as Technical Advisor for the £450m Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which has named the Balfour Beatty Education consortium as Preferred Bidder this month.

The programme will build or remodel nine schools across Blackburn with Darwen in a single phase, and 15 schools in Bolton through three phases.

Balfour Beatty Education will form a Local Education Partnership with Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen Councils to deliver BSF across both boroughs. ICT firm Northgate will form part of the consortium to provide technology for the schools in the programme.

Work is due to start in at Pleckgate Mathematics and Computing College (above) in January 2010 and at Darwen Vale High School (below) in September 2010. The schools will be rebuilt or extensively remodelled to provide state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities and will be open for community use.

Councillor Chris Thayne, executive member for Blackburn with Darwen Council’s children’s services, congratulated Balfour Beatty Education and said: "It’s very exciting to see the programme progressing well and I am especially glad that the first two schools to start work were involved in shaping the designs.

“BSF will affect virtually everyone in Blackburn and Darwen and will shape the future of the area, its communities and its learners. It is a massive investment in schools, but it is about more than buildings because it is also the chance to transform learning for generations of pupils through an innovative and personalised curriculum.”

Councillor Ebrahim Adia, executive member for children’s services at Bolton Council, said: “The bidders for this contract faced a vigorous selection process and the Council and its stakeholders had to be sure they selected the right company for the job. Today is another step on the way to the regeneration of Bolton’s schools and communities that BSF will bring and it is tremendously exciting for all involved. The designs for the two sample schools look excellent, and I am sure that Bolton’s schools will look just as good as they do.”

Reaching this milestone is excellent news for the young people, teachers and local communities across Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton

Chris Sargent, Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton bid director for Balfour Beatty Education, said: “Balfour Beatty Education is extremely excited to be part of this opportunity to transform the lives of young learners, the local community and the local economies in Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton. The new schools in Pleckgate and Darwen Vale, and the future schemes will deliver inspirational learning environments for the pupils, teachers and the local communities across the two councils.”

Mark Howden, head of regeneration for the Balfour Beatty Education bidding team, said: “We believe this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, working in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton, to create sustained growth for local businesses and to deliver a long terms skills legacy, ensuring that the local economies are better able to compete in the future.”

Tim Byles, chief executive of Partnerships for Schools, the government agency responsible for managing the national BSF programme, said: “Reaching this milestone is excellent news for the young people, teachers and local communities across Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton as it brings transformed schools and state-of-the-art technologies a step closer. At its heart, BSF is about improving the life chances for all young people, whatever their background, whatever their needs. I look forward to seeing Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton’s BSF projects take shape.”