Regarding Paul Foster’s column about Building Schools for the Future (BSF) on 9 March (page 40), I have deep suspicions about this initiative.

  • On one hand, he says £5.8bn has been committed to new schools this year, but then says 78 academies are under construction, which is about £75m per academy. Really?
  • BSF depends on local education partnerships (LEPs) – private sector companies specialising in funding, designing,building and maintaining schools on a national scale over a long period. Do these organisations exist?
  • He says LEPs will transform learning outcomes. Surely the duties of privately owned companies are to shareholders. It is the role of teachers and parents to transform learning outcomes.
  • What evidence is there that LEPs can run schools at a profit to satisfy shareholders and to a better standard than local education authorities?
  • What will happen if LEPs cannot make the stipulated profit on their investments by running a school to the specified standard?
The philosophy underpinning BSF is flawed, the market on which it is predicated is non-existent, the main objectives are unachievable and the delivery mechanisms are untested. It is run by naive zealots with no experience of the matters about which they preach so fervently.

It is not the force for good that Paul Foster claims and should be scrapped forthwith.

Tony Clarke