PFI scandals in education
Belfast: the school with no pupils
Balmoral High School in south Belfast is to close after only five years. Built in 2002, it was expected to accommodate 500 pupils, but only ever attracted half that number. Last September it took in only 23 pupils. Its closure planned for next June will leave 250 pupils searching for a new school and 18 teachers looking for work. If this is not bad enough, because it was built through a PFI scheme, the education board will have to continue paying millions to the consortium that owns and manages the school. They will be paid seven million pounds over the next twenty years regardless of whether it is used or not.
Strabane: the pupils with no school
By contrast, in Strabane, pupils from three
schools that are due to merge are still waiting to move into a new £31
campus. Plans for the new campus were announced five years ago, but
still there is no sign of it being completed. Numerous completion
dates have been announced, only to be missed. The latest target for
the official opening of the campus is now October 2008!