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Building Schools for the Future (Nottinghamshire)

Volume 511: debated on Monday 7 June 2010

4. What plans he has for the Building Schools for the Future programme in Nottinghamshire; and if he will make a statement. (804)

This Department is reviewing the Building Schools for the Future programme to ensure that when we build schools for the future, we do so in a more cost-effective and efficient fashion.

Will the Secretary of State take the opportunity at some point to visit Sherwood? There are two schools specifically affected by this programme: Dukeries college in Ollerton, and Joseph Whitaker college in Rainworth. Is the Secretary of State aware that Nottinghamshire county council has spent £5 million on this scheme without a single brick being laid? What we really want is an indication of the time scale, so those schools can make plans for their future.

I thank my hon. Friend for his question; if he continues asking great questions like that, he will very shortly be my right hon. Friend. I do sympathise with him—both Dukeries college and Joseph Whitaker college do a fantastic job for the young people in their care, and they are very fortunate to have him as an impassioned champion on their behalf. I am actively reviewing how we can ensure that the maximum amount of money goes to schools, and as he rightly points out, it is quite wrong that local authorities should have to spend so much money on bureaucracy before a single brick is laid or a single contractor is engaged. It is quite wrong that a bureaucratic system put in place under the previous Government should prevent money from going where it deserves to go—to the front line, so that all our children can be better educated.

There is a lot of concern in Nottingham about the right hon. Gentleman’s “review” of Building Schools for the Future. Can he get rid of some of that uncertainty by saying specifically by what date that review will be over, particularly of wave 5? Will it be in the next week, in two weeks, in three weeks—can he give us a date?

The hon. Gentleman is of course a former Minister, and talking of dates, I would love to have a date with him so that we can discuss exactly how poorly Nottinghamshire was being treated by the last Government, and the fact that Nottinghamshire has just reached its outline business case—[Hon. Members: “When?”] I hope to have the opportunity very soon to explain to the hon. Gentleman and others exactly when the review I am conducting is being concluded.