Saturday, 15 May 2010

The tories are in, where now for BSF and managed service?

Now the Conservatives are in power where does that leave the future of Building Schools for the Future (BSF)? They have planned £12bn worth of cuts in public spending so where does this leave school IT? Are the schools getting their rebuild? Are they getting a managed service, and if not, what do the schools do who have been allowing their IT staff to leave?

As I used to work at a Sheffield school that was going to go through BSF in the next couple of years I was particularly interested in this article from the Sheffield Star:

PLANS to rebuild eight Sheffield secondary schools could be scrapped if the Conservatives come to power in the upcoming General Election.
Spending cuts could pull the plug on the Government's flagship Building Schools for the Future programme, shadow schools minister Nick Gibb has admitted.

Mr Gibb said only schools which have reached 'financial close' with their developers would see their upgrades definitely completed.

Four Sheffield schools will only reach that stage by the end of the summer, well after a likely election date in May - Parkwood Academy, King Edward VII upper school, City and Stocksbridge.

Four more are not set to reach financial close until early next year - Birley, Handsworth Grange, Bradfield and Notre Dame.

Cancellation of all eight schemes would see £17 million of local taxpayers' money already spent on development costs written off, according to city council estimates.

Going ahead with all eight would cost in the region of £150 million.

Mr Gibbs stressed building projects would not be axed across the board, with decisions made on an individual basis.

But he added: "We think BSF is a hugely wasteful approach to procuring new buildings. It's very 'top down', very bureaucratic and costs a huge amount of money."

Four Sheffield schools have already been rebuilt, with work on six more currently underway as part of the programme to renew every secondary in the city by 2014.

Coun Andrew Sangar, Cabinet member for children's services, said 18 months of preparations had gone into plans for schools like City and Stocksbridge.

"I find it totally unacceptable that the Tories have indicated they would consign planned improvements to many Sheffield schools to the rubbish bin," he said.

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