Report’s author issues damning report card on New Labour’s flagship scheme

Just 840 of the country’s 3500 secondary schools have benefited from the school building programme so far, it was revealed today.

The Sebastian James review into future schools procurement acknowledged that “the vast bulk of schools will require investment and in some cases their needs are very acute.” The report added that the proportion of primary schools that have benefited from funding is even smaller.

Criticising the cost of the £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme, which was stopped by the government last summer, Sebastian James said: “I have found that the system of capital allocation and spending which has developed over at least the last decade has frequently resulted in poor use of resources, a bureaucratic system for providers and Local Authorities and a mixed – and at times poor - outcome for both parents and children.”

He said that civil servants, local authorities and industry had “done their best to administer the system they were asked to use” but said that “the system is not fit for purpose and has been working against them.” He blamed the failings of the programme on procurement not being sufficiently centralized, and the government not ensuring that contracts are “always negotiated by those who have the appropriate expertise.”

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