Monday, July 05, 2010
Coalition turns its back on Darlington's children
I'm not sure anyone was truly surprised by today's announcemnent that the Tories and LibDems are turning their backs on Darlington's schools, and refusing to honour the pledge of the last Labour Government to substantially rebuild Longfield, Branksome and Hurworth Secondary Schools.
There was solid community support behind the schools' bids, and even a cross-party consensus locally. As for the guff that Michael Gove came out with in the Commons to justify the cuts - that some schemes were delayed - in Darlington's case precisely the opposite was true. It was the Council's ability to turn round projects quickly and within budget - as demonstrated with other Building Schools for the Future Schemes - that was a key element in the previous decision to prioritise the Borough's remaining 3 unmodernised schools.
No matter. Gove's speech was always a figleaf for a Coalition that wants to push its own idealogical pet project of Free Schools, despite sound evidence that they just don't work.
The truly ridiculous thing is that the cost of maintaining these crumbling, outdated buildings will probably far outstrip the price of a fresh build over time. But hey, why let logic get in the way of right wing nonsense.