Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has announced a programme of spending cuts for England’s schools
Key to his plan is the effective scrapping of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme, which means that any rebuild or refurbishment projects yet to reach financial close would not go ahead – a decision affecting 715 schools.
Gove said that, in light of the public finances, it would be been “irresponsible” to carry on with an “inflexible and needlessly complex” programme. The move will go some way to reaching the £156.5m in cuts that the Treasury is demanding from the Department of Education.
It’s all part of a larger review of capital investment in schools, early-years centres, colleges and sixth forms to be led by Sebastian James of DSG International, which owns Currys and Dixons. The review team includes Kevin Grace, Tesco’s property tsar; Sir John Egan, former CEO of Jaguar and BAA; and John Hood, the former Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University.
Gove has also announced that he is ending the £972,000 annual funding for CABE’s design advice service associated with the BSF programme. Paul Finch, CABE Chairman, said: “We acknowledge that the Government intends to pursue a new approach towards the school estate, but we also know that the combination of practical advice and minimum standards has a significant, measurable impact on the quality of buildings provided for teachers and pupils alike.
“CABE has a wealth of experience and insight that we will now offer the review team, helping them address the challenge to cut costs and still deliver a world-class schools infrastructure in Britain.”