Design quango’s budget hit as Gove scraps role on slashed schools programme

The government’s design adviser Cabe is to lose five staff and suffer a funding cut of £700,000 per year because of the decision to axe its role on the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

Schools secretary Michael Gove said yesterday that the body would not continue to provide design advice for new school buildings as part of his cull of the £55bn programme. Cabe’s role on the BSF programme was made a statutory part of the process in 2009 after concerns over the design of schools in BSF’s early phases.

Cabe said in a statement that the schools design review panel it has been running will cease to operate with immediate effect. However, it said it would continue to provide advice to schools, with expert advice to help people setting up parent- and teacher-led schools to be published in the next few months, as well as practical guidance on the refurbishment of existing school buildings. The quango said it would not renew contracts for five of its staff.

Cabe chairman Paul Finch said: “We acknowledge the government intends to pursue a new approach towards the school estate; but we also know the combination of practical advice and minimum standards has a significant, measurable impact on the quality of buildings provided for teachers and pupils alike.”

He added that Cabe would now help the BSF review team with its role to reassess the programme.