Department for Education

Part of Estimates Day – in the House of Commons at 4:27 pm on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of James Frith James Frith Labour, Bury North 4:27 pm, 3rd July 2018

With respect, the Minister will have a chance to address these points when he sums up.

I have heard of Government intervention, but I am unsure how this Government can take credit for an increase in the birth rate—and anyway, the birth rate increase happened on Labour’s watch. Another quarter of pupils are in schools rated good or outstanding that have not been rated by Ofsted for at least eight years, and 300,000 pupils are in schools not inspected since 2010 because they are in converter academies. I know there is much agreement across the House on these issues, so I say to Ministers: take note of the forensic attention that our heads and your colleagues are paying to performance and ensure that, come the Budget, that is reflected in the allocation.

I will conclude with a brief word on capital spending. In response to my recent request for Lord Agnew and the Secretary of State to consider rebuilding Tottington High in Bury in my constituency, I received a letter acknowledging that the cost of a new school is on average between £9 million and £12 million in current money. Lord Agnew referred us to the £2 million pot given to Bury to look after all its schools. Since the ambitious days of Building Schools for the Future, capital funding has all but disappeared. Tottington High has been overlooked. It was booted off the BSF when the new Government came into power in 2010 and then pushed off their list for new builds. School governors expect more contact from the HSE than the DFE. As I asked the Secretary of State last week, will he send officials from his Department to visit the school to see for themselves the case to rebuild? If he responds to me in this debate, I will update the school when I am proudly its prize-giving speaker on Thursday night.