Schools’ cash is lost says council leader

CASH Gerald Vernon-Jackson
CASH Gerald Vernon-Jackson
PCSOs and police officers around Priory School this afternoon

Police speak to school after fight in Southsea play park

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PORTSMOUTH has lost millions of pounds it spent preparing bids for school improvement projects.

As reported in July last year, the city council spent £3.5m making a case for its 12 secondary schools to be rebuilt or refurbished under the Building Schools for the Future project.

When the scheme was scrapped, just weeks after the coalition government was elected in May last year, those plans were dashed, even though two, Priory and King Richard Schools, had contracts written and waiting to be signed.

The council said it would campaign to get its money back, but its leader, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, yesterday said: ‘We’ve written to the Department for Education and pushed for the money to come back. But it’s clear the Department won’t pay us the money back. It’s money we’ve lost. It doesn’t leave us in difficulty, because we expected it was gone, but it’s frustrating.’

He also revealed the government had still not said whether any cash will be available to King Richard or Priory, despite Education Secretary Michael Gove’s June 2010 promise to ‘replace’ the BSF programme.