Another issue (raised repeatedly by Alistair Burt during the past six months) has been whether BSF funding is guaranteed.
Critically, nobody will assure him that £350M will be forthcoming. More worrying, nobody knows just what may happen in the next 18 months as a new Government comes into power.
What is certain is that public finances are in a shocking state – the country is £175 Billion in debt and last week there were rumours of more “quantitative easing” by the Bank of England…another £50 Billion was mentioned, which is getting on for another £1000 of debt for every person in Britain.
Every part of the public sector is already notified of cuts from 2011. The “Golden Age” of public funding is over and schools are already looking at a 2% cut in funds, without the ball and chain of funding the lower to primary switch from their own budgets.
BSF was seen as the Golden Goose for Bedford Borough – but it won’t be laying those golden eggs for much longer and there is a very great risk that funding will be pulled or reduced in the middle of a change to two-tier.
This would be disastrous, as underfunded change in Northampton and Oxford has demonstrated. Suffolk are so worried by these events that they have curtailed their school reorganisation in the middle, leaving whole areas in limbo.
Bedford Borough needs to act prudently at this time – a move to change every school at once is too risky, aside from being too disruptive and unlikely to lead to school improvement.
It would be much better to bid for BSF funds targeted at transforming underperforming schools in disadvantaged areas and upgrading specific facilities in other areas that are in a desperate state of repair.
Evolution not Revolution