Page last updated at 13:44 GMT, Tuesday, 27 July 2010 14:44 UK

Schools list 'should have been checked'

The chief executive of the agency responsible for the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme has accused civil servants of ignoring advice to double check data on school building projects.

Giving evidence to the Education Committee on 27 July, Tim Byles, from Partnerships for Schools, said the list of schools affected by the decision to cancel BSF should have been double-checked with local authorities by the Department for Education.

Education Secretary Michael Gove had to apologise after an inaccurate list of schools in England affected by the decision was published.

Mr Byles told the committee "When we were asked to provide a detailed list of all schools - both those in procurement and those in pre-procurement - we advised the Department [for Education] that it would be wise to validate this information with each local authority due to the inherent risk or errors.

"This advice was not followed and a number of errors arose."

Building Schools for the Future was Labour's £45bn plan to rebuild every secondary school in England.

However Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced that 719 school revamps already signed up to the scheme would not now go ahead.

A further 123 academy schemes are to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

He has called the scheme "dysfunctional" and "unnecessarily bureaucratic", with nine "meta stages".

The committee also took evidence from shadow education secretary Ed Balls, who said the decision to scrap the programme had been chaotic and "last-minute" and had dashed the hopes of some 17,000 plus children.

He said it also put construction jobs at risk and would see capital funding diverted to free schools, which would lead to greater social division.


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