Mr Redwood’s contribution to the Backbench Business Debate on School Funding Formula, 10 March 2015

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Would the Minister suggest that there should be a limit on how big the gap can be between the best and the worst per-pupil level of funding, as that would be a starting point for getting some justice?

The Minister for Schools (Mr David Laws): That is certainly a sensible principle, and it is exactly what we have tried to do through many of our reforms.

Throughout the Parliament we have introduced major reforms that have improved the fairness and simplicity of the system and laid the essential foundation stones to allow us, the two coalition parties, to introduce a full national funding formula in future. The major reforms we have made are changes to the local funding system, and changes to the way in which we fund disadvantage, with the introduction of the pupil premium and minimum funding levels. Time does not allow me to speak in detail about the first two changes, but I would like briefly to say something about the third—minimum funding levels.

We introduced minimum funding levels last year. I thank not only all the Members who lobbied for that change in the system but the excellent officials in our Department who worked hard, over a sustained period, on the new model. This Government have introduced the first reforms to the distribution of funding between local areas in over a decade. In 2015-16, every local area will attract a minimum level of funding for each of its pupils and schools. The £390 million increase in funding that we introduced as part of minimum funding levels represents a huge step towards removing the historical unfairness of the schools funding system. It ensures an immediate boost to the least fairly funded authorities and puts us in a much better position to implement a national funding formula in the next Parliament. All the logic of the reforms we have made indicates that they should be baselined into funding in the next Parliament. I can certainly make that commitment on behalf of my party; it is for others to make commitments on behalf of their parties.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Thank you for pursuing this Mr Redwood. Unfortunately you and your cohort still have not addressed the disparity between Primary and Secondary AWPU funding which disadvantages Primary pupils. Nor the way the formula allows Tower Hamlets and similar boroughs to gain so much more per pupil than other boroughs.

    • Posted March 16, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      I note that many Secondary Schools are now campaigning over the per pupil funding their local authorities are receiving.

      Leicester 3995, Wokingham 4125 – City of London 8395, Tower Hamlets 7400.

      It is no wonder that London’ s inner city schools are motoring ahead when they can pay so much more for each teacher than their suburban and provincial competitors.

      Add to this the EAL and deprivation add ons some of these schools get and they are up to 10kper pupil . How is that fair? How is the largely immigrant demographic in these areas contributing to the economy other than costing the taxpayer more?

      Primary school pupils will only recieve 80% as much funding per pupil as each secondary pupil. I do not hear the secondaries highlighting that

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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