It would seem that the education ‘industry’ is happily immune from the ravages of the economic downturn.
With the Government bankrolling its ambitious Building Schools for the Future programme, there was undisguised pleasure in Birmingham Council House yesterday as the city’s Cabinet member for education formally announced that the financial pieces were in place for the £180 million transformation of many of its secondary schools.
The first phase of the massive BSF programme, which will take until 2024 to complete in Birmingham, will create something like 1,500 jobs at a time when thousands of students are facing unemployment after failing to gain a place at university.
It provides a much-needed shot in the arm for the local construction industry, with partners Catalyst Lend Lease and Bovis Lend Lease looking to recruit even more West Midlands firms to join the 30 already fixed on the supply chain.
But with work already started on three sample schools, due for completion in 2011, there are those equally important who will benefit from this much-needed financial shot in the arm.
Generations of current and future pupils will surely excel in modern, state of the art buildings that will be a far cry from the significant number of old, tired and rundown schools that teachers are presently trying to work wonders in.
The Building Schools for the Future programme has been so long in the talking stage that cynics might have wondered if it was ever going to happen.
But, with three schools already under construction, and design development work on-going on a further 14, that dream is looking more and more like reality.
And, with the Labour Government continuing to make funds available for one of its major election platforms, it is to be hoped that the money will continue to flow Birmingham’s way until every child can be taught in facilities fit for the 21st century.