SHADOW Education Secretary Ed Balls has called on Michael Gove to rethink his decision to withdraw BSF funding from Tameside following a visit to Mossley Hollins.
Mr Balls toured the £20million site of the school – which is currently under construction – after being invited to the constituency by Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds.
The authority had had plans to rebuild or refurbish every one of its secondary schools through the Labour government’s Building Schools for the Future programme.
But in July the new government announced it was withdrawing £90million of BSF money from the authority – halting the plans for seven secondary schools.
That means that plans to rebuild or refurbish All Saints, Audenshaw, Copley, Fairfield, Longdendale, St Thomas More and West Hill high schools have beenhalted.
Following the visit to the site of the new Mossley Hollins High School, Shadow Education Secretary Ed Balls expressed concern about the government’s decision to take BSF money away from seven of the authority’s secondary schools.
He said: “This is a fabulous building and after talking to the headteacher and the children I know that they are going to use this huge investment to really boost the aspiration and life chances of local people.
“There are 150 different contractors working on the site, so it’s about local jobs being created as well.
“To the secondary schools here in Tameside that have got the BSF money it’s brilliant. To the seven schools that were told by Michael Gove just a few weeks ago, ‘I’m sorry, it’s all been cancelled’ it’s a really, really bitter blow; a bitter blow to the kids and to the parent, but also to local jobs.
“Here in Tameside half the schools will be brand new; half will be in old buildings. It’s so unfair and such a blow to aspirations.
“The thing we have been saying loud and clear the last few weeks is that we have got lots of MPs, parents and teachers across the country who are saying, ‘Michael Gove, think again. Change your mind. Do the right thing by construction jobs, do the right thing by our children.’”
Published 13 September, 2010.