“Schools building programme delayed by lack of finance” is the BBC headline and, on News 24 we see pictures of schools so desperate for repairs that they look for all the world like derelict buildings. Still, I suppose in the current economic climate…but wait, didn’t I read somewhere that Gove had gone £1billion over budget on the academies programme (that’s £8 billion in all)? Yes, you did.
So, no shortage of cash for his pet pointless project (pointless, that is, unless you consider the privatisation of the state education system to be the point) but nothing for schools that are a million miles from attracting the likes of ‘Future’ (Tory donor and education minister Lord John Nash) or The Harris Foundation (Lord ‘Carpetright’ Harris). We’re so short of cash even for these priority cases that we’re scouring for private money for a new round of PFI swindles.
Gove, you remember, abolished Labour’s BSF, a bold plan to rebuild or refurbish all the nation’s secondary schools. It was too costly and bureaucratic, apparently. Instead we get this, the pathetic fobbing off of needy schools and, more importantly, their pupils, for at least another two or three years.
So keen is Gove to ensure children aren’t taught in what he and Michael ‘Govested’ Wilshaw see as sub-standard schools, apparently, that they have to be rushed down the academy road pel-mel, at additional cost to the public purse. Nonetheless, these children can go on being taught in buildings that no decent bank, building society, estate agents — or government department — would consider tolerable. They can also be taught by people without qualifications and, as I discussed in a recent post, their schools can even be run by 27-year-olds with no experience or qualifications.
So, kids, parents, teachers, that’s what he REALLY thinks of you.