Former education secretary Estelle Morris has urged the government to plough more money into school building during the recession

Speaking to Building after it was announced that she would chair an independent inquiry into the success of the government’s school building programme, Baroness Morris said: “If I were still education secretary I would look for more money. It’s an ideal time for the Treasury to put money into schools, but the schools department has got to show it can use the money well.”

Despite much-publicised delays to the £45m Building Schools for the Future programme, Morris said she believed the programme would be completed. She said: “I’ve heard nothing to suggest that it is under threat.”

Morris will chair the Great Schools Inquiry, a year-long investigation organised by the British Council for School Environments. The inquiry will study the impact of school buildings on learning, and the importance of sustainability.

Meanwhile, it emerged this week that delays to the £5bn Learning and Skills Council college building programme could continue for a year.