School-building ‘disappointment’

By staff

There is “widespread disappointment” in the government’s flagship school-building programme, an influential group of MPs has warned.

The Commons’ public accounts committee says poor planning and “persistent over-optimism” have been responsible for the problems faced by the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative.

Its report acknowledges that centralising the programme’s management had benefits but it warns an “air of complacency” has descended over those in charge.

“It’s going to be a tall order to double the number of schools being procured and constructed,” committee chairman Edward Leigh said, as he called for the Department for Children, School and Families to lay out in detail how they would speed up the pace of delivery.

The committee also wants to know how the government proposes measuring the improved educational attainment it predicted would come from the programme.

Up to £55 billion has been spent so far and Mr Leigh said “we need to know how far” this is expected to “deliver the envisaged educational outcomes”.