Tim Byles, the chief executive of Partnerships for Schools, has insisted that the government’s £45bn school building programme will not be damaged by the market downturn.

Byles was speaking after announcing that a series of schools projects worth £625m are to be brought forward at least six months under a government deal to speed up the delayed Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative.

Byles said he had seen no evidence that market conditions would affect the delivery of the programme. He said the government had the money to spend and that the industry would not be deterred from tendering by the tough market conditions, despite the high bid costs associated with the schools.

However, he said PfS would “closely monitor” rising construction costs. He said: “We are always watching for any increases in cost, and it is an issue we need to keep in the balance.”

PfS is the delivery body for the government’s £45bn BSF programme. It said five secondary schools in each of eight local authority areas would be fast tracked.

Plans for the schemes, which would originally have come on stream from early next year, will start being worked up by the authorities now.