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BSF cuts: Sandwell chiefs to meet Gove today

Senior members of Sandwell Council will meet with education secretary Michael Gove today in a bid to rescue the local authority’s Building Schools for the Future project.

The £280 million Sandwell BSF scheme, won by Interserve last year, was axed by the government in July despite an initial list saying it was safe.

Now council leader Darren Cooper and chief executive Allison Fraser are meeting Mr Gove in London to put their case for the scheme to go ahead.

Mr Cooper said: “We need to modernise all our schools, not just some, and BSF was delivering this transformation.

“For the scheme to be stopped when we are so far down the line is wasteful, short-sighted and heart-breaking for pupils and parents.”

Two BSF schools are under construction in Sandwell: Smethwick and Rowley learning campuses.  

The council is currently developing plans for a further three schools: Oldbury Campus, Tipton Campus and Wednesbury Campus.

Three academy schemes have been called in by the Government for further discussion.

Partnerships for Schools chief executive Tim Byles took the blame for the list that incorrectly said Sandwell was unaffected by the abandonment of BSF.

He said: “PfS is entirely responsible for the error on Sandwell’s schools and I apologise in full for that and have done so in person to the chief executive officer of Sandwell and to the secretary of state.”