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BSF cock up leaves Gove apologising and more schools hit

Simon Quicke

The education secretary is having to apologise to schools that had been told their building and ICT improvement plans under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme were incorrectly safe when in fact they had been axed.

There were 25 errors in the list that went out earlier this week accompanying the announcement by Michael Gove that the BSF scheme was being reviewed and 700 projects were being scrapped as part of the government's attempts to make cuts.

As Gove admitted the errors he was barracked by Labour MPs who maintain that even in the revised list there continue to be errors.

Mr Gove told the Speaker in the House of Commons last night: "I'm grateful to you and to the whole House for granting me the opportunity to make this statement, and once again to unreservedly apologise."

He added that pains had been taken to make sure the latest list was error free and he took "full responsibility for that regrettable error".

Gove now faces the prospect of visiting the schools impacted by the error to apologise in person, which would involve trips to the West Midlands, Doncaster and South Yorkshire.

There are signs that the decision to effectively axe BSF has not gone down well with some Tory backbenchers threatening to turn up at the Commons with school children and teachers from schools that have been hit by the cuts.

The decision over BSF has already impacted the channel with some of the large educational specialists, including RM, revealing the decision could cost them millions in lost revenue.
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