A Midland council is considering legal action against the Government for scrapping a project to rebuild or upgrade up to a dozen schools in the Black Country.
Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper is considering a judicial review after “disappointing” talks he had with Education Secretary Michael Gove in London yesterday over the scrapping of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme.
Mr Gove caused uproar last month when his department said plans for nine new BSF-funded facilities in the borough were safe when they had actually been binned. A further three were called in for further discussion.
But there were hopes that the meeting between Coun Cooper and the Tory minister could renew hopes for the building projects. However, he returned to Sandwell last night “empty-handed,” although he also refused to give up on the funding.
“It is desperately sad for pupils and parents and shortsighted of the government,” he said.
“But it wasn’t a waste of time even though we didn’t come away with anything more positive than we did before we went.
“What the Secretary of State did say was that we will be a top priority for any capital resources in the spending review in the autumn so we will keep pressing our case.”
He added: “But we’re looking at pressing our case through the courts with a judicial review – we’ve been treated dreadfully and shabbily by the coalition Government. We want the decision looked at, how it was taken and how transparent it was. We’ve already taken legal advice and the early indications are that we may well have a very good case.”
The Sandwell schools to have lost their BSF bids were Bristnall Hall, Heathfield, The Meadows, the new KS4 and Therapeutic Units, Perryfields, Stuart Bathurst, Wood Green, Menzies High School Science College and Manor Foundation Business Enterprise and Sports College. Two BSF schools are currently being built in Sandwell – Smethwick and Rowley learning campuses.