Borough hit after Government axes schools rebuilding scheme

Michael Gove has announced plans to pull funding for school buildings. Photo: Conservative Party

The man charged with overseeing schools in Croydon said he is  “disappointed” that three major re-building projects  at borough schools have been scrapped as part of Government expenditure cuts

Renovation money in excess of £30million  promised under Labour’s Building Schools for the Future scheme has been cancelled by new Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Projects at Priory Special School, Selsdon High and The Archbishop Lanfranc School have all been axed as a result.

Councillor Tim Pollard, Cabinet Member for Children, helped the borough get on funding list just last December, at the time saying the BSF money “will be used to transform the standard of schools in Croydon”.

But in an apparent case of last one in first one out the grants have been withdrawn from all of Croydon’s secondary school hopefuls.

Councillor Pollard told EastLondonLines: “The Archbishop Lanfranc School is one of Croydon Council’s top priorities [for renovation]. It was built on a landfill site and has venting and plumbing problems.”

“Selsdon High is also in need of serious restructuring. The initial buildings were only meant to last for 25 years but it’s now double that.”

Since the scheme came into effect in 2003 only five per cent of 3500 secondary schools in England have completed renovations using BSF funding.

Mr Gove’s decision means the end of funding for 715 schools, although 705 rebuilds will still go ahead.

Cllr Pollard is still hopeful that this is not the end of the schools rebuilding program in Croydon, as the Government will be looking at each investment on a case-by-case basis in the future.

He added: “The letter we received from Michael Gove made clear that they haven’t given up on rebuilding schools.”

Although Croydon is not the only borough in London to be affected by the proposed cuts, none of the secondary schools in Lewisham, Hackney or Tower Hamlets had any of their planned renovation works dropped.

Additional reporting by Tom Hilton

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