David Mowat used Departmental Questions to the Department of Education yesterday, to highlight the importance of Penketh High School, which he had recently visited and which is urgently in need of repair. Penketh High School was one of over 700 schools which had applied for funding under the BSF scheme, but had not been able to complete the process before last week's announcement and was thus not funded. He also asked about the criteria which would be used in the Government's forthcoming review of Capital Spending to prioritise those schools most in need of repair.
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, yesterday praised David Mowat, Member of Parliament for Warrington South, for his efforts in lobbying for BSF funds. In exchanges on the floor of the House of Commons, Mr Gove noted that David Mowat had been "articulate and powerful on behalf of his constituents."
Mr Mowat asked:
"Given that last week's announcement on BSF has had an impact on several schools in Warrington—including Penketh high school, where the need is great—will the Secretary of State tell us when his capital review is likely to report, and what criteria will be used in the review to prioritise schools? Is he willing to meet me and Warrington educationalists to discuss their needs?"
The Secretary of State for Education responded:
"My hon. Friend was good enough to lobby me several weeks ago about the fate of the school that he mentioned, and schools in Warrington overall. He was, as ever, articulate and powerful on behalf of his constituents. I recognise that his constituents have been let down by the fact that Building Schools for the Future spent so much money on bureaucracy, and not enough on bricks and mortar. The purpose of our capital review is to ensure that money reaches the front line more quickly, and that the dysfunctional system that was established under the last Government—which they took no steps to reform or abolish—is transformed. I believe that there will be an interim report in a few months' time and a final report by the end of the calendar year, both of which will transform school buildings for the future."