The BSF money of £340M to transform secondary provision is central to the debate over whether Bedford Borough should change to two-tier.
Some councillors believe that this money is only available for a two-tier outcome. They are being told that we will lose the money if we remain three-tier. They are being told they will be responsible for turning down this huge amount of money.
SMS would like to point out that BSF money is most certainly available for three-tier solutions, as Iain Wright as confirmed in Parliament very recently under pressure from Nadine Dorries and Alistair Burt.
The money is likely to be under review after the next General Election (less than a year away) and does not cover primary years education (a big hole in our finances).
It is also subject to our “readiness to deliver”. What can be more “ready to deliver” than a system already in place? We can transform our current buildings using targeted projects to help the areas most in need. When the money dries up, we will be able to cut individual projects, not be left in the middle of educational and financial chaos.
This proposed change is already underfunded, especially for the primary years switch – council tax will need to rise or services cut.
For what? A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that cannot even promise improved results…
Financially, remaining three-tier is the most prudent and sensible way for councillors to show their leadership here – otherwise they will remembered as the councillors that destroyed Bedford’s education system and caused a major local financial crisis.
This is why we want to talk and present to all our councillors – to ensure that they have heard both sides of the debate.