Islington schools’ rebuild budget could be slashed

TWO Islington secondary schools that are still waiting to be rebuilt could have their funding slashed.

Islington is meant to be getting �130million from the Government to rebuild every secondary school in the borough.

So far, work has been completed at St Aloysius, Holloway, Highbury Grove and Samuel Rhodes schools – and is about to start at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Islington Arts and Media and the Lough Road pupil referral unit.

But work is still some way off starting at the last two schools – Highbury Fields in Highbury and Mount Carmel in Archway – and now the Conservative education secretary Michael Gove has warned that funding for the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme will be cut.

There are even rumours that the funding could be slashed by as much as 40 per cent – although the Department for Education has insisted that no figure has yet been set.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “The Secretary of State has been clear that school rebuilding will continue but that capital expenditure on schools must be more cost effective given the current financial climate.

“On 5 July, when the Secretary of State made his announcements about the BSF programme, he made clear that where projects were being allowed to proceed, that we would be looking at the scope for savings.

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“Now that the spending review has been announced, we are in a position to move forward with this work.”

Islington Council believes that only Highbury Fields and Mount Carmel schools will be affected by the cut - but has pledged that work will still go ahead even if the money available is reduced.

Councillor Richard Watts, the Labour-run council’s executive member for schools, said: “We will be forced to make savings to Islington’s BSF budget.

“Until we get clearer confirmation from the Government later this year, we won’t know exactly how this will affect our school rebuilding and refurbishment plans, but none of them will be cancelled.

“We’ll be working closely with the schools to ensure we get the best value for money.”

In other local authorities, the Government has axed the entire schools rebuilding programme.