EDUCATION bosses say 2012 will be the borough’s ‘best year ever’ with the opening of three multi-million pound schools in Blackburn and Darwen.

Construction firm Balfour Beatty has been working flat out to get back on schedule after delays hit the building of the high schools, the council said.

Now the new Blackburn Central High School, Darwen Vale High School and Witton Park High School Business and Enterprise College are set to open to 3,500 students on time in September.

Balfour Beatty put an ‘emergency’ recovery plan in place when snow and freezing conditions last winter delayed work at Blackburn Central High School, Haslingden Road, and Witton Park High School, Witton Park.

Then Blackburn Central, which is a new school that will replace Blakewater College and Crosshill Special School pupils, was hit by further delays in the summer.

The council said a manufacturing fault on a key piece of concrete pushed works further behind.

Bosses at Balfour Beatty have now reassured the council that both builds will be ready in time for the handover dates in the summer.

All schools in Blackburn with Darwen are being rebuilt or redeveloped as part of a £203million scheme Building Schools for the Future, BSF, scheme.

Pleckgate High School Mathematics and Computing College was the first school to open in September.

Blackburn Central High School will cater for 1,020 pupils, Witton Park High School will have 1,230 students on its roll with 31 from Newfield Special School and Darwen Vale High School will cater for 1,150 youngsters.

Coun Maureen Bateson, executive member for children’s services at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said there had been delays at Witton and Blackburn Central due to the bad weather conditions this time last year.

She said: “Construction teams and all partners have been working enormously hard and a recovery plan is very much under way.

“Both schools are still very much on course to be completed on schedule.

“This is going to be a very exciting year, the best ever, for the Blackburn with Darwen BSF programme with three of our ambitious new schools opening their doors and changing the face of education in the borough in September.

“The schools will provide new and wide ranging opportunities for all our young people, teachers and the wider community.

“It will be an incredibly busy time as well, but everyone involved, the council, Balfour Beatty and the local education partnership, are working extremely hard and we are all very confident that we are meeting targets and are on time with all builds.”

At Blackburn Central High School the steelwork and concrete floor installation and the all weather pitch have been completed.

The brickwork, cladding and roofing is underway.

At Darwen Vale High School construction is steaming ahead. All superstructure works have been completed, and brickwork, cladding, windows and roofing is well underway.

Refurbishment of the existing iconic 1930’s frontage is continuing with façade repairs, roof repairs, new windows, structural alterations and internal fit out in progress.

Once completed the students will move back into the school in Blackburn Road from the present Holden Fold site which will also be decommissioned.

At Witton Park High School the steel work, concrete floor installation, brickwork, cladding and roofing works is ongoing.

The current school will be knocked down once pupils move into the new school.