On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

4th May 2012 at 01:00

This week: Nick Gibb

This week, schools minister Nick Gibb visited Richard Lee Primary in Coventry. What did it do to deserve such an honour? Last July, pupils and parents delivered a 3,000-name petition to the Department for Education demanding that ministers do something - anything - about the appalling state of the primary's buildings.

Mr Gibb's verdict? It is, he said, "one of the worst he has ever seen". This would not have come as a surprise to locals. The school made national headlines last year when it was revealed that lessons were being taught in corridors after a boiler burst and flooded two classrooms. To make matters worse, part of the roof later collapsed.

So is Mr Gibb going to do anything thing about it? Well, um, maybe ... in time ... possibly, came the considered response.

Richard Lee is, you see, waiting to find out if it's going to get some cash from the long-delayed Priority School Building Programme. This #163;2 billion scheme - which was six times oversubscribed - was due to announce the first tranche of successful applicants before Christmas. Then in February. But the pupils, staff and parents of Richard Lee are still waiting.

Coming as they do after the coalition's cancellation of the Primary Capital Programme in 2010, the delays to the new building scheme, together with Mr Gibb's lack of commitment to a clearly desperate school, are surely enough to earn the junior minister a stint on the TES naughty step.

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