Schools survey branded ‘farce’


Labour has slammed the Government’s long-promised property surveys of Calderdale schools as a “total waste of money”, claiming they will damage the chances of winning national funding for buildings such as Todmorden High and Calder High.

The Government’s Review of Education Capital (The James Review) in July 2011 recommended that work started to collate up-to-date information on the building condition of the education estate. Ministers said the surveys would ensure fair allocation of maintenance funding.

Calderdale Labour education spokesman Coun Megan Swift said: “Typically, they have paid out millions to private companies, instead of working in co-operation with individual education authorities. Frankly, the whole process has been a farce. From the results we’ve seen so far, it’s clear that the inquiry seriously underestimates the scale of the problems. The surveys contain major factual errors, fail to identify costly problems with heating and electrical systems and miss significant weaknesses in the walls and roofs of Todmorden High and Calder High.

“Five years after former Conservative education secretary Michael Gove described the buildings at Calder High as some of the worst he had seen, we now have a Government-funded survey basically saying that there is nothing wrong with it. At Todmorden, the survey has missed problems with damp and drainage, deteriorating roof conditions, and the potential failure of the heating system.

“Anyone who has visited either of these schools knows what a great job the staff are doing despite the poor building conditions. We need the council leadership to take strong and immediate action to demand that the Government withdraws this flawed exercise.”