Bob Ainsworth – Member of Parliament for Coventry North East – has called on the Education Secretary to restore the withdrawn funding for school buildings in Coventry, in the light of revelations that the New Schools Network has been handed £500,000 to promote the government’s Free School policy.
The Guardian newspaper revealed that Michael Gove authorised a £500,000 grant to the New Schools Network, which promotes Free Schools, and is headed up by the Education Secretary’s former adviser.
The news comes after the government cut the Building Schools for the Future programme which halted much needed rebuilding and refurbishment work for Secondary Schools in Coventry.
Primary schools have also been hit by funding cuts and one of the primary schools earmarked for rebuilding work was Richard Lee School which has been left in an appalling state of disrepair. The decision to reduce Education Capital Expenditure has stopped any prospect of that building work happening in the short term.
A local campaign, led by Bob, Wyken Councillors, teachers and children, has attempted to reverse the government’s decision and make the case for the necessary funding to rebuild Richard Lee School.
“At a time when the government are cutting investment in schools across Coventry and Richard Lee School remains in a state of disrepair, I question the Education Secretary’s wisdom in funnelling public money to the New Schools Network in order to prop up the government’s Free Schools pet project.
The government is neglecting existing education provision in order to pursue its ideological agenda. It is completely unacceptable for the government to withdrawal funding for school buildings and education provision in Coventry which is being used to fund Mr Gove’s pet project. I, once again, call upon the Education Secretary to think again and restore the funding he has withdrawn from schools in Coventry.
In the meantime, I will continue to push the Department of Education to provide enough funding to provide our kids with decent facilities for learning.”
31 August 2011