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Council leader slams decision to axe school rebuild programme

PUBLISHED: 11:06 08 July 2010 | UPDATED: 11:48 23 August 2010

THE leader of Kent County Council is surprised and disappointed to hear the massive rebuilding scheme had been axed, writes Shelley Whittaker. Almost 60 new schools would have been built across the county, including nine in Gravesham and the Longfield A

THE leader of Kent County Council is "surprised and disappointed" to hear the massive rebuilding scheme had been axed, writes Shelley Whittaker.

Almost 60 new schools would have been built across the county, including nine in Gravesham and the Longfield Academy and Wilmington Enterprise College in Dartford.

It is estimated that just 13 will survive the cull as the tough measure was announced, prompting heads to hold urgent talks in a bid to save their schemes.

Paul Carter said: "I have been surprised and disappointed by the scale of the announcement, which brings to an end the Building Schools for the Future programme for 40 secondary schools and means significant uncertainty for eight new academies. I am enormously disappointed for these schools, teachers, pupils and parents which will not see new schools built."

Out of the nine schools in Gravesham which were due to be rebuilt, just five have benefited from the scheme, with work either complete or underway.

Kent had the largest Building Schools for the Future programme in the country and had been at the forefront of building new academies.

To date, 11 secondary schools have been, or are in the process of being, rebuilt and seven new academies have been completed or are underway.

Kent County Council has overseen in the region of £400million of public money spent on new and refurbished schools.

Mr Carter added: "I appreciate that all those involved in the project, from headteachers to contractors, will also be disappointed. We need time to take stock of our position and reflect on the announcement. I would like to see all the people involved coming together to talk about innovative ways of revitalising secondary schools. We stand ready to offer any assistance to the government's review panel."

Building Schools for the Future was launched by the previous government in 2003. The aim of the £55 billion government programme was to rebuild or renew every secondary school in England.

Kent was expected to benefit from £1.8billion worth of investment for new schools.

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