Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson has called on the government to take action after local technology college, Hetton School, had its planned rebuilding programme delayed until 2016 due to a failure by the Department for Education to secure financing.
In Parliament Bridget asked the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, why the Department for Education failed to secure funding for the rebuilding of Hetton School. The Secretary of State was unable to answer the question but pledged to write with further details.
Hetton School was previously scheduled to be rebuilt under the previous Labour government’s ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme, which was later scrapped in 2010 by the current government. Following the James review the Conservative-led government announced in May 2012 the ‘Priority School Building Programme' with a mandate to repair and refurbish schools in the greatest need. Hetton School is one of a number of schools in the Sunderland area and the north east which has yet to receive funding from the government’s flagship re-building programme.
Commenting after Education Questions, Bridget Phillipson MP said:
“I'm very disappointed that we are facing yet more delays in much needed school rebuilding. There will be significant costs in keeping open existing buildings, such as asbestos management.
“Under the previous Labour government’s school rebuilding programme the work to re-build Hetton school would already be well underway.
“I want to know what assistance will be offered to schools as a result of government incompetence. The staff, students and parents have waited long enough and this is unacceptable.”
Read the official debate in Parliament:
Bridget Phillipson MP questions Education Secretary Michael Gove
Read what the media say:
The Northern Echo: Fresh crisis for North-East's crumbling schools after finance deal collapses