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Building Schools for the Future Programme

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance his Department has issued to (a) schools, (b) local authorities and (c) partnerships for schools on the action plan drawn up to address the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit’s review of the Building Schools for the Future programme. (159796)

No guidance has been sent to schools, local authorities or Partnerships for Schools as a direct result of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit’s review of BSF. The report’s recommendations have been taken into consideration as guidance has been refined and developed. No guidance has been issued to Partnerships for Schools, but we continue to work closely with them in developing materials and guidance for the programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance documents his Department, and its predecessor, issued to (a) local authorities and (b) schools on (i) the Building Schools for the Future programme and (ii) the Academies programme since each commenced. (159797)

The Department and Partnerships for Schools have issued an extensive range of publications with schools and local authorities included in their target audiences. For BSF, these include the “Strategy for Change” guidance, business case and procurement guidance, ICT guidance and the “Schools for the Future” design guides series. All guidance is available at:

www.partnershipsforschools.org.uk

www.bsf.gov.uk

For Academies, publications include: “400 Academies—Prospectus for Sponsors and Local Authorities”; “Academies and independent schools: prospectus”; and “Academies, Trusts and Higher Education: prospectus”. In addition, Partnerships for Schools has issued a range of guidance, available at:

www.partnershipsforschools.org.uk/academies_guidance.htm

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what (a) policy and (b) delivery issues led to the Building Schools for the Future programme being delayed. (159834)

Many interplaying factors led to the programme being delayed. Most significant were the overly optimistic initial assumptions about delivery time scales, and the limited opportunities to build upon lessons learned due to the rapid roll out of the programme. The policy of prioritising entry into the programme by need, measured by deprivation (free school meals) and educational attainment (A*-C GCSEs), meant that some of the most vulnerable authorities facing a range of challenges were the first to enter the programme. We have addressed this with a series of measures, including a Readiness to Deliver assessment for authorities entering Waves 4-6 of the programme, streamlining the process through the introduction of ‘Strategy for Change’ and disseminating lessons learned. Since these measures were introduced, the pace of delivery has picked up.