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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 19:47 GMT
Setback for 100m schools' facelift
A 100m facelift for schools in Northampton has suffered a major setback.

Up to 40 schools in the town are due to be modernised and adapted with the town's education system changing from three tiers to two.

Now the project has been delayed for a year after part of one of two building consortia bidding for the work went into administration.

It means work will not start for another 18 months and leaves thousands of pupils facing lessons in mobile classrooms until 2007.

Real blow

Jarvis and Babcock and Brown are bidding for the contract to carry out the bulk of building work which had been expected to begin by late summer.

The process has been delayed after Ballast UK, a major part of the Babcock and Brown consortium, went into administration in November.

Northamptonshire County Council's spokeswoman on education Olwen Loud said it was a real blow but something they could do nothing about.

"While it is naturally disappointing and regrettable the timetable slip has happened, we need to still look forward and see that in the long term all the work to be carried out will be of great benefit to the town," she said.

Too tight

Phillipa Poulson, from the Northamptonshire Federation of Parent Teacher Associations, said the original building schedule had been too tight.

"It is not a huge surprise, actually. The timeline was very tight and as soon as there was a hiccough anywhere along the line it was bound to cause a problem.

"But I don't think it's too much of a scary story because it won't be the same children who will be in those buildings for three years," she said.

As children moved up the schools they would be moving into the main buildings, she added.

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