Teachers, Councillors and Pupils Join Protests

Over the axing of Building Schools for the Future programme

Related Links

Education Secretary Michael Gove brings an end to Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme

Ealing's New High School is Shelved

School Cuts Are 'Devasting Blow'

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A lobby of Parliament will take place today Monday 19 July to protest against the proposed cuts to the Building Schools for the Future programme.

Teachers, councillors and pupils will descend on Westiminster the same day as the second reading of the Academies Bill.

A recent analysis conducted for the National Union of Teachers (NUT) by independent consultant Martin Rogers (attd) has shown that the Government has failed to calculate properly the funding impact of its Academies Bill.

As a result of the Government's Academies 'Ready Reckoner' Local Authorities (LA) will have to give large, excessive and unfair amounts of funding from other services as well as from education to Academies. This could mean that many LA will have to make major cuts on top of the 25% cuts demanded by Government. Not only could LA be seriously damaged but also budgets to schools that either choose or have to remain in LA could be slashed. The paper analysing this potential consequence is attached.

Christine Blower General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:

"Time and again we have told the Government not to rush the Academies Bill. Consistency and fairness in school funding is absolutely vital. It is quite evident that Michael Gove, in his haste to railroad his Bill through has failed to consider its consequences for school funding. It would be entirely unacceptable for the Bill to discriminate against schools which remain in Local Authorities and to potentially wreck the other services they provide. I urge Government to provide proper time for parliamentary scrutiny of this Bill. The NUT believes it will, if not significantly amended, damage the whole education service.

"It is extremely difficult to see what justification there can be for fast-tracking the Academies Bill through the Commons and by-passing the usual democratic processes. These are not matters of national security or economic melt-down. The coalition government can have very little faith in its own legislation if they have to resort to such demonstrably unreasonable tactics to pass a Bill that will change the face of education in this country.

"Cutting the budget to rebuild schools is a huge blow to those that have been promised the sort of facilities you would expect in a modern school. Poor learning environments have a negative impact on the education of children, young people and the morale of the community. School buildings were woefully run down prior to Labour coming to power in '97 and while much has been done to improve them there is still a lot more to do. We are in real danger of returning to the crumbling inadequate schools that were a signature of the last Tory Government."

Announcing a complete overhaul of investment in England's schools, Education Secretary Michael Grove brought an end to the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme last week.

He said, "In the light of the public finances, it would have been irresponsible to carry on regardless with an inflexible, and needlessly complex programme."

The news came as a great blow in Ealing which was due to have a new high school under the scheme and has affected many other schools throughout the borough which preparing for major redevelopment work.

Ealing Central and Acton MP Angie Bray blamed the previous admnistration for the cuts saying:

''The programme has been cancelled because it is absurdly complex and too costly.  The bureaucratic process could take up to three years before the first brick was actually laid. The President of the Royal Institute of British Architects has said “The programme was wasteful and bureaucratic” and he has “long argued that the process could be improved to cut costs, save time and produce better buildings.”

"The cancellation of BSF does not mean an end to capital investment in schools.  The Secretary of State has established a Capital Review team to consider better ways of funding school rebuilds and refurbishment to ensure that the Government and the tax payer get maximum value for money as well as delivering the school buildings to meet the needs of pupils and their teachers.''

Schools affected in Ealing:

West London Academy ...Academy - for discussion
Acton High Secondary School (Post 16 and ICT) Stopped PFI
Belvue Special School Stopped PFI
Brentside Secondary School (ICT) Stopped
Drayton Manor Secondary School Stopped
Elthorne Park Secondary School Stopped
Featherstone Secondary School Stopped
Greenford Secondary School (ICT) Stopped
John Chilton Special School (ICT) Stopped
New Secondary School Stopped PFI
Northolt Secondary School Stopped
Pupil Referral Unit - Ealing Stopped
Spinghallow Special School Stopped PFI
St Anns Special School Stopped
The Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls Stopped
Twyford CE Secondary School Stopped
Villiers Secondary School Stopped
Cardinal Wiseman Secondary School Sample – for discussion
Dormers Wells Secondary School Sample – for discussion

Other local schools affected by the cuts are:

  • Acton High Secondary School
  • Twyford CE Secondary School
  • London Oratory
  • Sacred Heart High School
  • Cardinal Vaughan Memorial RC School

July 19, 2010