Tuesday, 6 July 2010

13 school rebuilds stopped in H&F

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, yesterday cancelled the school building programme in our Borough. The following 13 schools will now not receive the investment they were promised:

  • Wood Lane High (complex needs)
  • Phoenix high (Shepherd's Bush)
  • Jack Tizard (next to QPR, Shepherd's Bush)
  • Cambridge (learning disabilitities)
  • Sacred Heart High
  • William Morris (6th form)
  • Fulham Cross
  • London Oratory
  • Henry Compton
  • Bridge Academy
  • Lady Margaret
  • Queensmill
  • Hurlingham & Chelsea
In it's Partnership for Schools document Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh said this of the programme:

I am excited by the prospect of change and assure you that I will do everything I can to ensure that we maximise all available funding. If we can secure up to £200 million funding from the Government I know it will make a huge difference to our schools, offering a first class education for children and indeed, for the whole community. Following our consultations we now go forward, with a clear sense of people's views, in our efforts toimprove the life chances of children and young people in Hammersmith and Fulham”.

So no more plans for first class education in Hammersmith & Fulham. I wonder how H&F News will report this..

Here's Michael Gove talking about what he called a "dysfunctional" building programme:

0915 UPDATE - A reader writes in (comments, below) to point out that this is the same Michael Gove who is supporting the creation of a Free School in our neck of the woods instead. So now the question about the West London Free School is this - why are they getting the money to build a new school from scratch and not our existing schools?

1200 UPDATE: not an update actually, more a question - where is the reporting on this from the traditional local media? The Government has just canned the building programmes of 13 local schools affecting hundreds of families and not a word from the Chronicle.

1330 UPDATE: The Chronicle is now reporting the story here. You know where you saw it first, folks..

1730 UPDATE: The Standard is carrying the story with this quote from Sir William Atkinson, head of Phoenix High School in Shepherd's Bush, who put things in perspective:

It is devastating news.” He added that children faced an unfair, “two-speed” education system with some pupils in dazzling new facilities while others were condemned to “antiquated, inadequate buildings”.

Phoenix was planning a £25 million overhaul of its buildings, which date back to the Fifties. Sir William said: “These are buildings with concrete that is beginning to crumble, iron pipe-work which has been fractured, with lots of leaks and flat roofs which are constantly leaking.”

I run past that school most mornings and the description of the buildings is a very accurate one indeed. That image can now stand for the future of education in this borough. Still, at least Toby Young gets his West London Free School instead.


  1. And yet we are at the forefront of Gove's Free Schools programme, where the government will fund parents who don't like the ethnic makeup of their local school to start a completely new school from scratch - finding new buildings and facilities and teachers and staff. Ugh.
    Every decision they make feels political, rather than practical.

  2. Worth listening to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8791000/8791336.stm

    Rupert - the idea that parents want to help set up new schools because they don't like the ethnic makeup of current schools is ridiculous and insulting. Try understanding their motives a little better: http://www.newschoolsnetwork.org/

  3. Same here - Chiswick Community School build cancelled. How lucky we are that there appears to be enough money for the new Free School. The ConDems really do care!

  4. This shouldn't be that surprising from a Tory Government though right? This is what the Tories do...

  5. Again, worth reading: http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/?p=6585

    Key passage:
    "In the statement I heard Michael Gove make he was clear in saying he was cancelling the approach of Building Schools for the future because it was an expensive, long winded and inefficient way of building schools. He did not say he was cancelling all new schools building. Indeed, if he is right and he can save substantial sums on the box ticking detailed regulatory approach of the old programme this could leave him with more moeny to spend on bricks and mortar. This message has got entirely lost in the broadcasts and newspaper stories about cuts, leading most people to think there will now be no new schools.

    This needs turning round as quickly as possible. According to the figures the Coaliton government is going to spend as much on new capital projects as the outgoing Labour government. In that case they might end up building more schools than Labour for the same amount of money if Mr Gove is right about how to do it more cheaply. I asked him what savings he expected from stopping the BSF approach. He said he would write to me with the answer. The sooner I get that letter the sooner he can tell the country about the waste that is being eliminated and the extra money that should then be available for bricks and mortar."

  6. In other words Anon, as soon as the ConDems can think of a spin that might sound vaguely convincing, they will air it. Of course, if there was such a policy then it would have been launched in tandem with the news of the destruction of the Schools for the Future (except jolly good "non-selective" Free Schools) programme.