back to article Credit crunch hits school rebuilding programme

The National Audit Office says councils are struggling to borrow money under the Private Finance Initiative to build schools fitted with new ICT In a report on Building Schools for the Future (BSF), the programme to rebuild secondary schools and equip them with the latest technology, the NAO says that during 2008 problems in the …

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PFI = more government borrowing

It has often been said that socialist governments and their policies generally fail when they run out of other peoples' money to spend. Well, well, well.....!

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Schools do not need computers

Computers are not necessary in schools.

We should be concentrating on teaching kids to read (books), write (with a fountain pen) and add up (with pencil and paper) *first*. When they have mastered doing those things *without* a computer, as they may well find themselves having to do one day, *then* and not until should they be allowed near one.

Also, schools should be teaching general principles and abstract concepts -- not just how to use Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop.

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WHAT!!??

The NAO says that its report focuses on procurement because it is too early to measure how effective BSF has been in improving education. It calls on PfS to speed up its collection of cost information on BSF schools, including procurement, ICT life cycle costs and PFI contract variation costs.

So let me get this straight. The government is pushing ahead with a £45 Billion scheme during the worst recession in living history without having any evidence as to whether it a) improves education or b) delivers value for money? The school ICT people I know reckon they have an annual budget of between £35 (ish) per pupil/per year (Grammar school and £150 per pupil/per year at a government loved high school. BSF offers the potential of £1500 pp/py and this is expected to deliver better value to the public. Given that ICT in schools will be handed to Northgate, RM and the like it is unknown what percentage of the £1500 will go to the service providers and their shareholders instead of being spent on educating pupils.

Herein lies the truth behind BSF. A government that loves centralisation and private corporations is handing the running and control of the education system to its corporate friends who will happily deliver the centralised system they desire. The reason the government sees no need for evidence of educational improvement is that it doesn't matter if there is any or not. On the surface it'll look good as new buildings always do and education will be shown to have improved when 150% of pupils get A* in their GCSEs and A-levels and every school floats to the top of the league tables.

As if I didn't have enough reasons to vote against Labour next time already. The only saving grace is that by the time this happens both my kids will have left school.

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@Enrico, A J, & Julian

Can't really think of anything to add - between you, you've said it all - other than Brown's billions "hidden" off-balance sheet in PFI schemes will now come back to haunt him . I hope he'll be haunted to death: political death, that is.

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