Michael Gove tells a parliamentary committee the £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme was ’flawed’

Michael Gove called the Building Schools for the Future programme “misconceived” and “flawed” as he appeared before a parliamentary committee today.

Appearing before the Education Select Committee - click here for video from the BBC - the education secretary Michael Gove, said that the two main problems with the scrapped scheme were its pre-construction cost and its focus on area rather than need.

Gove told the committee: “Flaw one was that within a given local authority there might be schools in an advanced state of dilapidation but there would be other schools that were in respectable, not ideal, but in respectable buildings. All of which would be refurbished and repaired. While in another part of the country you would have schools in an advanced state of dilapidation that would not have their needs addressed for years to come.

“And indeed towards the end one of the ways in which Building Schools for the Future was meeting targets was not by allocating money on the basis of need but on the basis of a local authority’s readiness to meet some preset criteria.

“The other area in which I felt that we needed to change is that the whole procurement model meant that everyone had to sink an enormous amount of cost into the process before bricks were laid and before transformation could take place. So you had anything between £7m and £10m being spent in the procurement process setting up a local education partnership.”

Speaking of Tim Byles, head of Partnerhsips for Schools, which was running the programme, Gove said: “Tim and his team are highly professional, they’re collaborating with our capital review.

“The expertise and experience hard won that the team have secured is being quarried by our capital review team. The cordial and productive relationship that the Department and PfS has will inform the capital review in the future.”