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On Monday (4 September), the former permanent secretary for the Department for Education dropped a bombshell during an interview. Jonathan Slater revealed that the government had neglected the urgent need to rebuild hundreds of schools in England that were on the brink of collapse due to deteriorating Raac concrete. The plan was to rebuild 300-400 schools annually, but funding was only allocated for 100, which was then reduced to a mere 50 by the chancellor. Shockingly, to date, only four schools have been rebuilt. This revelation sent shockwaves through the nation, leaving families worried about their children’s safety and the government red-faced.
While it is easy to point fingers solely at the current Prime Minister, there are other key figures who played a role in this dire situation. Michael Gove, former education secretary, scrapped previous school rebuilding programs to focus on “free schools” and “academisation,” essentially dismantling the local education authorities responsible for school oversight. Additionally, former chancellor George Osborne advocated for austerity and made the ill-advised decision to cut capital budgets instead of reducing current spending.
However, the blame doesn’t fall solely on the politicians. Public perception plays a crucial role in these matters, and to add insult to injury, a misguided Tory communications professional thought it wise to tweet a graphic stating that “most schools” were unaffected. This tone-deaf move only further damaged the government’s credibility.
The government’s neglect of school infrastructure is a prime example of short-sighted decision-making and the consequences of prioritizing political ideology over the welfare of children. It further highlights the need for a comprehensive review of education funding and infrastructure management.
Q: How many schools were originally planned for rebuilding?
A: The initial plan was to rebuild 300-400 schools annually.
Q: How many schools were actually funded for rebuilding?
A: The government initially set aside funds for only 100 schools, which were then reduced to 50.
Q: How many schools have been rebuilt so far?
A: Despite the urgent need, only four schools have been rebuilt to date.
Q: Who else is responsible for this situation?
A: Michael Gove, former education secretary, and George Osborne, former chancellor, played significant roles in neglecting school infrastructure.