A senior figure at Partnerships for Schools has hinted that the secondary school delivery body is keen to rescue the ailing colleges building programme.
Director of education and planning Russell Andrews gave the clearest signal yet that PfS could become responsible for the Building Colleges for the Future scheme.
Mr Andrews told Construction News: “We are keen to help local authorities be as strategic as they can across a range of capital funding schemes.”
Speculation has surrounded the future of the BCF scheme since Learning and Skills Council chief executive Mark Haysom took responsibility for its failings and resigned last week.
Mr Haysom said he was pre-empting the findings of a report by former Audit Commission chief executive Sir Andrew Foster into the project’s £3 billion funding gap. Of 79 colleges given approval in principle by the LSC, just eight have since been given the green light for construction.
The Learning and Skills Council was last week forced to deny that the other 71 schemes would have to remain in limbo until at least September. It insisted that fresh funding could be available for approved college building projects soon after the publication of Mr Foster’s report later this month.
Contractors and consultants last week suggested PfS should be given the college programme to run alongside the £55 billion Building Schools for the Future scheme.
The body is seen as having a good track record of delivering education projects on a large scale, and was recently given an extra £200 million to help new schools co-locate with other public services.
It has also been suggested that the body could take on the £9 billion Primary Capital Programme.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families refused to comment on what would happen to the BCF programme and said it was awaiting Mr Foster’s report.