Yes Minister…

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.

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7 Responses to Yes Minister…

  1. JamesD says:

    Now the real Bedford Borough plan for schools will have to come out:
    We don’t need 2 Secondary Schools on the west of Bedford so Wootton pupils can be forced onto the Hastingsbury campus, 3000 pupils just like Mark Rutherford! The land at Wootton is of much higher value to developers than that at Hastingsbury.
    Close 2/3 of Lower schools and concentrate on 600+ pupil Primaries on the Middle School sites. All that land in those wonderful villages will fetch a lot on the housing market.
    The Bedford Borough senior education officials from Mr Chris Hilliard down all stated at public meetings that they would not continue with 3-tier. So is it the end for all of those Lower schools and Wootton Upper to pay for the change or do the Council senior Education Officers go elsewhere?
    We are less than 1 year from the next local elections – to all future Council candidates look at the real evidence – not the spin perpetuated by those Education Officers. To those current Councillors who want to be re-elected – stop this school reorganisation now.

  2. Virginia says:

    I’m just curious what they intend to do about the school where they already forcibly changed things, such as Mark Rutherford//Woodside.

  3. Martin Hamilton says:

    This time last year when the former administration was congratulating itself on having attracted in excess of £300 million for Bedford and that all that was required was to get to a certain stage before the next government was elected, it seemed obvious that something was seriously wrong. All this against the backdrop of the most serious financial conditions for, well how long? I think I would have put the chance of the money ever arriving at 10%. The odds may have fluctuated a bit since then and no-one will ever know what a new labour government would have been forced into despite what they now say. So a year has gone by. In that time what has the LA been doing to help our schools improve based on a rational assessment that there was a 90% chance of the money never arriving? I hope we will now find out.

  4. I V Dzhugushvili says:

    Surely now the Great Leader must save his political position by sacrificing those apparatchiks that advised him so badly. It is never the leader’s fault even when they have followed his dictates; it is their fault for believing in fairy tales. In my day the NKVD would have already saved me the trouble and the upper echelons of the Education Officials would have already disappeared.

  5. KDev says:

    What could be worse than the proposed 2-tier reorganisation for Bedford’s children? – a piece meal non funded reorganisation and 15 years of chaos.
    The only thing that will save education in Bedford Borough is a very clear statement of a long term commitment to 3-tier. Woodside closure halted and the new Academy stays an Upper school 13 to 19. Anything else and we will have droves of Middle School teachers leaving next year. Followed by Upper / Secondary staff as education in Bedford melts down. (North Beds Schools Trust will continue with its selective education (30+% from outside catchment) in its own way and to H3ll with the rest of the Borough.
    PS I disagree with the statements about Bedford becoming “Deadford”. I think that “Milton Keynes East” is a much higher probability.

  6. JamesD says:

    At last some sense. Now they must be kept honest and support our schools – no more divide and rule. £486,000 wasted, Woodside abandoned, and Glover and Co still in charge.
    No joy in this, agreat loss to our children’s futures. It could have all been so different.

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