Black country

Balls claims Sandwell children 'let down' by government

The shadow education secretary said West Midlands children have been let down by the coalition government after rebuilding projects were scrapped.

Ed Balls was visiting Sandwell, where nine schools were on an approved list on 5 July, only for it to be announced the next day plans would not go ahead.

Mr Balls said there was "some anger" when he met head teachers on Tuesday.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has apologised to council leaders over mistakes on the list.

On Thursday Mr Gove "apologised unreservedly" to council leaders meeting in Bournemouth, saying he was sorry for the confusion.

'Back on track'

The mistakes were on a list relating to the scrapping of the multi-billion pound Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme in England.

After the meeting, Mr Balls said: "There was some anger, but also deep disappointment because this group of head teachers has been working for a long time to raise the aspirations and transform the opportunities for almost 12,000 local children.

"They wanted me to go and take the message back to Westminster 'this is not fair, it's not right' and they want to see a change.

"They want to get things back on track and that's what I'll do."

Mr Gove announced on 5 July that more than 700 projects would not go ahead, saying the scheme had been plagued by "massive overspends, tragic delays, botched construction projects and needless bureaucracy".

The Department for Education then published a list of 1,500 projects saying which would go ahead, which would not and which were still being reviewed.

On Thursday Mr Gove said: "I wish in particular to apologise to people in those local authorities such as Sandwell that are doing such a great job, and they found that schools were wrongly informed that their building would proceed under BSF."

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