Yesterday in the House of Commons Michael Gove announced that only schools that had achieved “financial closure” would receive the BSF funds they were bidding for. MPs seemed confused by what “financial closure” actually was, but I can’t say I blame them as it is metastage 7, stage 9 of BSF according to PfS (or something equally bureaucratic). Michael Gove brought an example of some of the documents needed to be submitted during part of one of the 9 metastages, but I think he hurt his back in the process. Toby Young describes the inefficiencies of BSF further here.
Sadly, the bottom line for Bedford Borough is that, to quote a now infamous line “There is no money left”. The exception is Bedford Academy which has been listed as “under discussion”.
Without substantial BSF funding we would be risking our whole education system by attempting wholesale structural change – we were told repeatedly during the consultation process that Bedford Borough would be different, that the money did exist, and we would not make the same mistakes as Northampton and Suffolk.
There is no popular or political mandate for change without BSF funding – the whole project should now be halted and reversed by a vote of Full Council. In a time of austerity and with local authorities fragmenting as schools chase the money available to academies, the pendulum has swung away from centralised control, and with such uncertainty hanging over everybody, our children (and teachers!) deserve an education undamaged by unfunded, chaotic change.