More money for Wokingham and West Berkshire schools

I was pleased today that the Secretary of State announced £1300 million more for English schools across 2018-19 and 2019-20. I had been pressing her and the Treasury hard to make more money available in total for schools, as had others.

She went on to explain that “we are able to increase the percentage allocated to pupil led factors and this formula settlement to 2019-20 will provide at least £4,800 per pupil for every secondary school”. Again I with others had pressed for more of the money to be granted as a per pupil payment so that Councils like Wokingham and West Berkshire would benefit fully.

The government is still planning on introducing a fairer funding formula for 2018-19 and beyond. For the first two years the “national funding formula will set indicative budgets for each school” but “local authorities will continue to set a local formula as they do now for determining individual schools budgets in 2018-19 and 2019-20.” The details of the new national formula will be set out in September.

I will follow up with the Secretary of State on the detail of the formula as I am keen to see a decent result for local schools.

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15 Comments

  1. Nig l
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    More spin. It is not new money. Her statement says it is from efficiency savings, other budgets etc and she specifically states it will not come from tax increases or more debt. So why mention the Treasury?

  2. Iain Gill
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    the whole problem with education is local authorities.

    giving any decision making to local authorities is bad.

    give any decision making and buying power to parents and get local authorities out of it.

    • hefner
      Posted July 18, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      “Decision making and buying power to parents”: rather strange comments. In my children’s schools out of roughly 250 families hardly 100 were voting in the elections for the Parents Association, and only 10 people were willing to spend one evening a month for PA’s work.
      Despite what you might be thinking, “low-level” democracy is not really flourishing.
      So dream on …

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted July 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Many local authorities were doing a good job assisting schools. The skill was to provide services and support not doctrine. The Conservatives used academies as a sledgehammer to crackdowns a nut and remove the doctrinal, usually left leaning authorities from control.

        The resultant move by larger secondary schools towards the extra money initially offered to academies weakened good authorities’ ability to provide central services which encouraged further academisation.

        Now instead of local authority control we have large chains of academy trusts charging service fees and profiteering in the public sector and where the leadership rewards itself handsomely.

        We used to be able to vote an under performing council out. An academy trust has tenure.

  3. John S
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    More money is not the answer. Discipline and getting the basics right is the most important. My grandparents left school at the age of 12 and were all perfectly literate and numerate. My average class size was 35 up to O’ levels. The class sizes in the 6th form were dependent on the popularity of the subject. Something has gone horribly wrong with education.

  4. Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Easy enough there’s no big shed on the Isle of Wight that holds all of our taxes.

    All the treasury needs to do is create it from thin air by typing £1300 million into a computer keyboard by crediting bank accounts.

    It’s not as if we still use the gold standard.

    The key and only constraint to all of this is that there is enough skills and resources to absorb that kind of spending or there will be inflation.

    It’s not as if the monopoly issuer of £’s can run out of £’s.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 18, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Keep shaking that magic money tree and you will have higher inflation and higher interest rates.
      And lenders who don’t want to lend to us.

      There are plenty of previous sad cases of nations who felt the printing press was their salvation.

  5. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    “I was pleased today that the Secretary of State announced £1300 million more for English schools across 2018-19 and 2019-20”.

    It’s not really more is it, it is just a reallocation of the schools budget, so some areas will lose out.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Any new money into education can only be good given the rising numbers, but is it new money or have budgets been cut from elsewhere , as is being suggested.

    No problem with shifting some priorities within the overall spending if the core financing is in greater need than some other areas where perhaps there is a surplus, or where its use is less effective, as that is sensible.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    The best (probably only) way to get more money into education (and improve standards dramatically) is to encourage more & more people to pay for it directly. This by giving people vouchers they can use at private schools and top up themselves, or a tax break system. The same is true for health care.

    Give people more freedom to choose and reduce the size of these second/third/fourth rate state monopolies.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 18, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      That approach only works when the places aren’t saturated.

      An area where all the schools are full will attract vouchers to poor schools as well as good schools. Or are you suggesting we pay to bus local children to good schools nationally?

      As hefner writes above local ambition to improve schools only goes so far.

  8. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    You party colleague should have announced the money was coming from the pupil English as an additional language budget.

    Any requirement to then top up the EAL budget could come from foreign aid.

  9. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    The extra funding found for schools has been at the expense of other things in the education budget, possibly capital spending. There has been no increase in the overall departmental budget.

    Grammar schools are on hold because of the loss of the Conservatives’ majority. Perhaps it’s a good time to look at the performance of ‘faith schools’ and to ask whether atheistic taxpayers are benefitting in any way from state funding of them.

    A compromise might be that the state funds ‘faith schools’ except for the teaching of faith. After all, there are many different faiths and they can’t all be right. I always thought that teaching was about imparting knowledge, not peddling myths.

  10. Angela
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Whilst I’m pleased it’s been recognised that schools have been suffering it’s not new money is it? Just moving around of funds. I think we will have to wait and see if what is given with one hand is taken away by the other. Sadly teaching posts have been lost already and there is now a huge teacher recruitment issue that isn’t going to be fixed easily I don’t think. And certainly not by drafting in teachers from overseas as is planned as they won’t know our system.

    It’s sort of a step in the right direction but I think more will need to be done to fix the damage already caused by the last few years of turmoil.

  11. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Very interesting interview with Sir Michael Wilshawe (ex head of Ofsted) on Today this morning @ 7.15.

    He was adamant that performance was not all about money but in how resources are used by well paid heads. He also highlighted academy chains paying millions to consultants and directors.

    The funding formula that previously gave too much money to inner cities should now just redistribute the funds fairly without listening to the siren voices calling for these seats of immigration to be protected.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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