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.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
John Redwood gives a fascinating insight into the problem faced by Michael Gove at the Department of Education, following his apology to the House of Commons yesterday. It was a fulsome apology and very different to that which would have been given by Ed Balls, if he had still been in the job. Invariably Labour ministers, when faced with similar circumstances, would have found someone to blame - usually their civil servants. It is clearly the case that a civil servant goofed on the school list but Gove took full responsibility and made clear the buck stopped with him. Do read Redwood's who argument, but if you haven't got the time, here's his conclusion...