Data for rebuilding programme ‘flawed’, says councillor

Education chief says council used its own data for rebuilding bids as DfE's was 'inaccurate’

Education chief says council used its own data for rebuilding bids as DfE's was 'inaccurate’

17 Dec 2023, 5:00

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The school condition data used to select the first 100 projects in the government’s flagship rebuilding programme was “inaccurate and flawed”, a Stockport councillor has said.

Launched by Boris Johnson in 2021, schools in the first two rounds of the rebuilding programme were selected based on the Department for Education’s condition data collection (CDC) between 2017 and 2019.

Nominations were then invited last year for the next 300 projects.

School condition data branded ‘inaccurate and flawed’

Wendy Meikle, Stockport’s cabinet member for education, told a webinar this week that two urgent rebuilds in her area did not make the cut for the first 100 rebuilds, but have now been listed after applications opened.

“The first two rounds were based on DfE condition data, data we believe to be inaccurate and flawed,” the Liberal Democrat said.

“The DfE has listened to feedback and the third round was based on nominations using our own data, which seems fairer.”

In “exceptional cases”, leaders could submit applications with “professional evidence” if blocks had “issues that presented a risk of imminent closure, were not identified in CDC data and could only be resolved through a rebuild”.

‘Data not inaccurate,’ says DfE

But the CDC data was also “used to assess rebuilding need in the buildings nominated”.

Thorn Grove Primary in Cheadle Hulme was the first of the Stockport schools to secure a place. It was joined by Moorfield Primary last December.

Meikle said experience of the successful bids “has been positive and DfE colleagues have listened, collaborated and enacted plans based on local needs”.

The DfE said its “data is not inaccurate”. The information collected “is at a visual, high level, and is primarily used to help inform our understanding of the estate”.

It is “not a structural nor a health and safety survey”. A new CDC is expected to be completed in 2026.

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