Coalition scraps investment in new schools

The future of the £180 million Building Schools for the Future Programme in the Stockton Borough and other similar projects across the region was thrown into disarray this afternoon. In a statement to the House of Commons the Secretary of State for Education confirmed the worst fears of many local MPs – that there will be no new projects under the Building Schools for the Future scheme.

The Secretary of State failed to detail which part of the projects are likely to go ahead. In Stockton’s case, it appears that much of the programme will be axed. The doubt appears to be around new buildings for the two Academies and two ‘sample’ schools for which the planning is nearing completion.

A demand to have the Secretary of State publish the names of the schools which would go ahead and which wouldn’t was simply dismissed.

Under Labour Building Schools for the Future was the biggest single government investment in improving school buildings for over 50 years, rebuilding or renewing every secondary school in England. Alex Cunningham, Member of Parliament for Stockton North, said:

“Since 1997 Labour has rebuilt or renovated 4,000 schools but there is still work to be done. It was now our area’s turn and today we were told that as the Stockton project hadn’t reached financial closure the Building Schools for the Future programme will not go ahead.

We now wait for further detail on the future of the Borough’s two academy projects at Norton and Thornaby and the redevelopment of the Grangefield and Ian Ramsey Schools.

Two weeks ago we lost our new hospital under the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. Now it appears we have lost our new schools. I just wonder what we will lose next.”