Headlines: July 19th, 2010

Teachers will demonstrate in London today over the Government’s decision to scrap the Building Schools for the Future programme. The rally, organised by the NASUWT teaching union, follows a survey by the Local Government Association, showing more than 161 million pounds has been spent by councils on preparing rebuilding schemes which have now been cancelled.

The teachers’ protest will take place as MPs give a second reading to the Academies Bill, paving the way for ‘free schools’. Teaching unions are also worried that the legislation is being rushed through by the Government.

The general secretary of the NASUWT, Chris Keates, said dropping the BSF programme would inflict major damage on education provision in schools that were in poor physical condition and the public was right to be angry. “The Government’s unilateral decision to axe school building projects without consultation and any published criteria to make clear why some building programmes have been stopped has caused a widespread revolt,” she said.

The LGA survey found that 67 local authorities had spent at least 160 million doing the legally required preparation and paperwork for school rebuilding projects. It wants preparatory work and plans drawn up under the BSF scheme to be eligible for consideration under any new capital funding programme. The LGA has also called for schools where plans have been scrapped to be given a clear explanation of why their project is no longer considered viable.