Derek has strongly condemned this week's announcement by Education Secretary Michael Gove to axe the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Programme.
The abolition of the previous Labour Government's flagship scheme, introduced in 2004 to drive up school standards with major injections of capital investment in school buildings, will deny hundreds of brand-new schools across the country the new facilities they need. Halton is one of the areas being hit the hardest with building projects for nine schools being stopped, and decisions on schemes for Grange Comprehensive and Wade Deacon High Schools pending.
"It is disgraceful that the new Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition Government has taken this devastating axe to this vital funding for schools in Halton. We all remember how the last Tory Government left many schools building dilapidated and crumbling, and it was the last Labour Government which literally had to pick up the pieces and initiatied the biggest school building programme in over a century. Altogether 4,000 schools were built or refurbished since 1997, including a number in Halton, allowing schools to develop and innovate by embracing new technology, infrastructure and community outreach projects, making them fit for purpose in the twenty first century.
This is an insult to pupils, parents, governors and teaching & non-teaching staff across the country. It is a threat to a high quality teaching environment for our children and a blow for jobs at a difficult time when the construction industry and local employment badly needed a boost."
Calling this a "black day for our country's schools", Labour's Shadow Education Secretary Ed Balls, the former Schools Secretary, described the measures as "a damning indictment of this new Tory-Liberal coalition's priorities......The freezing of the programme that has just been announced is a hammer blow for many hundreds of thousands of children, parents, teachers and governors who will now not get the transformed new school they were promised."