Education Secretary Michael Grove has confirmed that both Burntwood and Southfields Community College will receive major improvement packages. The final details are to be confirmed, but work is expected to start in Spring 2011.
The projects had been on hold while the Department for Education (DfE) carried out an urgent review of the national Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. Ministers were concerned that the BSF model was overly bureaucratic and failed to provide value for money.
A Capital Review is now under way to look at new ways the DfE can deliver capital investment projects with a more cost efficient approach. A report is expected mid-September.
Leader of Wandsworth Council, Edward Lister, says:
“We worked very hard to develop these schemes and I’m delighted that we can now move ahead. Many more of our schools are in need of major new investment and we expect to hear details of how these projects will be financed following the outcome of the Capital Review.
“What is already clear is that there are far quicker and more efficient ways of delivering these schemes. The BSF model has forced councils all over the country to waste millions jumping though bureaucratic hoops before any building work could get underway.
“Now more than ever, it is absolutely vital that public spending is kept under tight control and programmes that fail to deliver value for money have to be shelved.”
Executive member for children’s services Cllr Kathy Tracey said, “This is terrific news for these two schools and the thousands of children who will benefit from a huge improvement to their teaching environment. Our next priority is to secure funding for the rest of our schools and we look forward to submitting our ideas to the Capital Review Team on how we can deliver these projects in a more timely and streamlined fashion.”
Education Secretary Michael Gove said, “I know how hard councils and schools have worked on these projects and I have been anxious to ensure we can do everything we can, in difficult economic times, to support the crucial work of raising educational standards. Planning for these projects is well advanced and we are keen they should proceed without further delay.”
August 20, 2010