Labour's school building scheme 'wasted £2.5bn'
The days of swanky new flagship academies operating in "truly world class" school buildings are over, according to a government review published yesterday.
Instead, the schools of the future will be built to a more standardised design which can be replicated across the country.
The review, headed by Sebastian James – head of group operations at Dixons, says that Labour's school building programme wasted as much as £2.5bn a year in bureaucracy and design costs – about 30 per cent of the cost of the programme.
The academies project under Tony Blair opened with a fanfare of publicity and designs devised by leading architects such as Norman Foster. However, the review concluded: "There is very little evidence that a school building that goes beyond being fit for purpose has the potential to drive educational transformation."
Indeed, it adds that some research suggested that pupil performance often "dipped" during and after rebuilding work.
The report also says that – with schools and local authorities negotiating their own building designs with construction firms – there was a lack of expertise which led to increased costs. What was needed was a standard set of designs which could be adapted for projects around the country, backed up with the appointment of a central body to carry out negotiations on cost.
The review was ordered in the wake of the decision by Education Secretary Michael Gove to slash Labour's school-building programme – under which every school in the country would eventually be rebuilt or refurbished.
In a letter to Mr Gove, Mr James said: "Because procurement has not been sufficiently centralised and because the Government has not ensured that contracts are always negotiated by those who have the appropriate expertise, the public sector has failed consistently to get the value it should have done – given the commercial leverage that this scale of programme could command."
Mr Gove said: "The system we inherited had profound problems.
"We must have a system for school building which is much simpler, less bureaucratic and which targets priority projects."
Nepal earthquake: How you can help victims of the Kathmandu disaster
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: The photo of a tree that proves the Tories have an image problem
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 4 The most powerful passports in the world
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...
£25 - 32,500K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Produ...
£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...
£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...