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BSF victory: council lambasts Gove's 'broken promise'

The leader of one of the councils who secured a legal victory over education secretary Michael Gove has called on him to visit children who are being taught in “crumbling school buildings” as a result of the decision to scrap Building Schools for the Future.

On Friday the High Court ruled that the government acted unlawfully in the way it scrapped the £55bn BSF scheme after six councils mounted a legal challenge.

The government was ordered to reconsider the decision relating to Waltham Forest, Luton Borough, Nottingham City, Sandwell, Kent County and Newham Councils.

Now the minister is being urged to listen to the first hand views of young people by Darren Cooper, the Labour leader of Sandwell Council.

In an open letter to Mr Gove (see attached document), Mr Cooper described the BSF projects as crucial and warned the opportunities open to thousands of young people in a ‘deprived’ borough would be “much, much narrower without the kind of start they could make in a modern, well equipped school environment.”

“They can certainly do without the handicap imposed on their school careers by the crumbling buildings they endure at the moment,” he said.

In the West Midland borough of Sandwell, nine high school projects worth £138 million ground to a halt as the axe fell on BSF.

Mr Cooper urged Mr Gove to keep a promise he made last year – to talk to pupils, heads and teachers face to face.

“They deserve a chance to have their say to you and to explain just why it is that they should no longer have to put up with inadequate buildings,” he wrote.

“I’m sure they will be able to do so far more eloquently than I and my council colleagues, although we will be delighted to see you and explain, too, the regeneration case for allowing school re-building to go ahead – increased economic activity, more materials sourcing and extra jobs in a borough that badly needs all three.”

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