It looks as if Blackheath Bluecoat School won’t be moving to the Greenwich Peninsula after all, after the government axed the Building Schools for the Future programme which would have provided funds for the scheme. It’s another blow to dreams of getting a secondary school – or at least, someone else’s secondary school – in the Greenwich Millennium Village, after daft plans to move John Roan School to a site next to the Blackwall Tunnel approach road were thrown out by its governors last year. There had been talk of finding a more suitable site for Bluecoat – but it looks as if it will have to wait.
John Roan’s own cash – now directed at revamping its existing premises – is unaffected by the cuts, while new buildings for Crown Woods, Eltham and Thomas Tallis, Kidbrooke will at least be finished. But plans to redevelop Kidbrooke and Eltham Green schools have been canned. Greenwich Council’s handling of the BSF scheme has been roundly criticised – and it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that maybe the borough’s schools would be in a better shape if it hadn’t faffed around and wasted time on mad schemes like the John Roan one. Somehow, I’m reminded of my own dismal schooldays, caught between a pincer movement of Margaret Thatcher’s savagery on one side and an incompetent ILEA on the other.
None of Lewisham’s schools have been affected by the cuts – although some of those are PFI schemes, meaning they may return to haunt taxpayers another day – and nor have Bexley’s projects (see Emma’s comment below), with just one failing in Bromley.
Still, on the bright side, with Blackheath Bluecoat remaining in Old Dover Road, it means children will still be using its back gate, giving a pair of aspiring local politicians something to campaign on if they stand again in the next council election. I’m sure we can all celebrate that.