Better Schools

There is general agreement in Wokingham and West Berkshire that our local schools need some more money. Just before Parliament was dissolved for the election, the government published proposals for fairer funding. The idea is to narrow the gap between the best financed and the worst financed schools by changing the formula for financing them.

I look forward to the government’s response to the consultation, as there could be improvements to the formula they proposed. I argued the case for more cash in the last Parliament.

It will be important in the new Parliament to find additional money for education in the years ahead to benefit all state schools. We want good provision for teachers and for all the support staff and buildings it takes to provide a good education. This can come from the proceeds of growth, as tax revenues rise with a growing economy. The best tax collector is growth and success. Often the worst tax collector is higher tax rates, which may curb growth and lead to loss of revenue if ill judged.

I will take the argument to Parliament if elected to find more money overall for schools, and to offer a better share to the lowly funded areas like Wokingham and West Berkshire.

Published and Promoted by Fraser McFarland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU


  1. Mark B
    May 12, 2017

    Good morning

    Is this need for more spending on schools have something to do with an increase in population ?

    I think it is time that those who use this service should be asked to pay a little more to it.

    1. hefner
      May 12, 2017

      That’s already the case. Parents in some state schools in the West Country are now “encouraged” to pay £5-10 per term for “additional” activities or documents.
      Funnily enough the West Country is not that full of “immigrants”.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        May 12, 2017


        The funding formula is skewed towards the areas that are full of immigrants that is why the West Country schools’ awards are insufficient

        1. hefner
          May 13, 2017

          NS, So what exactly is the problem in Wokingham?

        2. Hope
          May 13, 2017

          Not true. Schools over subscribed, councils not providing infrastructure but content to build new urban cities AKA by the govt garden villages! Their infrastructure plans make their woeful decisions clear! Complete idiots egged on by the govt.

          1. Narrow Shoulders
            May 14, 2017

            @hef and @hope

            The funding formula gives each local authority an amount per pupil. A formula derived from base level plus perceived deprivation and English as a foreign language levels within each borough then allocates an amount per registered pupil to each council to allocate (The EFA withholds the pupil amounts for academies and allocates it directly to academy using the per pupil amount multiplied by the number of pupils). Therefore each borough is allocated the AWPU amount for that borough multiplied by the number of pupils. This is topped up by the pupil premium which also takes account of deprivation. We seem to import deprivation due to the level of income most immigrants earn.

            As I wrote above the values are skewed by the number of immigrants in an area (English language and deprivation). However many pupils an area has they still cost an amount each to put in classes and provide teachers and infrastructure for.

            The full list for 2016/17 can be seen at (you will see that column F shows the number of pupils per area)

            Wokingham was awarded £4,166 per pupil, the lowest in the country.

            205 Hammersmith and Fulham £6,350.96
            210 Southwark £6,462.58
            208 Lambeth £6,485.88
            204 Hackney £6,857.79
            211 Tower Hamlets £6,982.07
            201 City of London £8,587.04

            This is why inner city schools are bleating, they have been overfunded and have spent it so can not cope when their allocations are reduced to provide more for areas like Wokingham.

            Reply. The average per pupil amount for the SE is 4356. The west Berkshire average within my constituency is 4368. Wokingham does a bit better for 3-4 year olds,with 3726. There are several Councils around 3200-3300. That is why I and others have been arguing for fairer funding, and why the government is now working on a new distribution formula.

    2. Bob
      May 13, 2017

      Watching parents in their BMW & Mercedes 4x4s dropping off their offspring at a school in a neighbouring town I asked my wife if she knew what the term fees were. The answer was “nothing, it’s a state school”.

  2. Lifelogic
    May 12, 2017

    The state should give vouchers or tax breaks to enable more people to send their children to private schools. Then the state schools would have fewer people to educate and far more money per pupil. But doubtless the current lefty leadership of the Conservative rather likes to keep the virtual state monopoly of education (with about 93% state educated). This is maintained not because state schools are better or more efficient (very far from it) but because if you go privately you have to pay three times. Once for other people’s children, then the tax & NI on the income you earn for the fees and then the fees themselves. If the socialist, Boris stabbing, Gove had his way there would even be £20% VAT on top.

    Do we really need any state schools at all? Just vouchers or tax breaks, freedom and parental choice?

    The same with the NHS except that here there already is the 12% Insurance Premium tax on top so you do already pay 4 times. Doubless why NHS waiting times for hips, knees etc. are shooting up. Offer people on the list a part payment voucher or tax break too. This to shorten the waiting time for them and other, save money & develop some real competition in the market.

    What is this daft system but hugely unfair competition to the rather more efficient and better run private sector schools and private medical services? It is hugely misguided. Why does the Competition Authority never look at the blatently unfair competition by the state sector?

  3. Lifelogic
    May 12, 2017

    Corbyn’s idiotic, politics of envy, suggestions – to put VAT on private school fees to pay for free shcool meals for all – clearly would not work either. Rather like all his other economically illiterate, magic money tree, pretend I am Father Christmas proposals.

    This proposal would raise no net money at all quite the reverse. The private sector in education would contract significantly and far more children would be forced to use state schooling. These extra costs would more than wipe out any VAT receipts. Furthermore, the people paying the VAT would have less to spend on other things reducing the tax take further. Many having sent their children to the state schools would then choose to work fewer hours. This as they no longer have to pay school fees, thus resulting in yet further tax/NI take reductions to the state.

    Why are so many politicians so damn stupid, or is it just blatently dishonest (in their attempts to buy the votes of the envious & gullible)?

  4. Narrow Shoulders
    May 12, 2017

    Schools in inner city areas have been over funded for years to the detriment of other areas.

    Right on teachers in these inner cities have convinced themselves they are doing good while picking up salaries inflated by this over funding. Of course their results are improved.

    Let these do gooding teachers earn the median teacher wage and pay their own increased pension contributions. Then the only funding issue within education will be the number of immigrants subsidised as they speak poor English. (Although on a par grammatically with many locals).

  5. alan jutson
    May 12, 2017

    I cannot understand how supposed intelligent people employed by the Government cannot figure out the costs and benefits of a new school funding system compared to the old, when there are so many known factors.

    Children do not go to school from birth (nursery perhaps) so you have at least 4 years of birth rate figures to know the pupil requirement in advance for Infants schools.
    Likewise you have years of advance knowledge of how many will attend Junior and Secondary Schools

    The only unknown factor is immigration, both arriving and leaving.

    Was it really a surprise to Government that so many Schools have now found themselves underfunded or below need, if so, then I am afraid too many in charge are utterly incompetent and should be sent on a refresher course for mathematics.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 12, 2017

      You say:- I cannot understand how supposed intelligent people employed by the Government cannot figure out the costs and benefits of a new school funding system compared to the old, when there are so many known factors.

      Well what makes you think they are even trying to planning it properly? What do they care? It is not their money, nor probably their children benefiting. They are probably more interest in justifying a higher budget for their department or getting a nicer office.

  6. acorn
    May 12, 2017

    In 2009/10, the UK was spending 5.8% of GDP on Education, last year it was 4.5%. In REAL (inflation adjusted) terms, public expenditure has stood still at £754 billion since 2009/10. Hence, Total Managed Expenditure (TME) is slated to drop to 37% of GDP by 2019/20, from 45.2%.

    1. Richard1
      May 12, 2017

      Perhaps it is a sign of the decline in basic education that so many on the political left do not understand that it is mathematically impossible to increase all areas of public spending as a %age of GDP indefinitely.

      1. acorn
        May 12, 2017

        Nearly Richard, but you blew it by adding the word “indefinitely”.

      2. Lifelogic
        May 12, 2017

        The govenment will always stuggle to raise much more than about 40% of GDP in taxation and that is far to high for the maximum good of the people. Taxes and red tape are already strangling the private sector goose that lays the golden eggs.

        25% of what would be a far larger tax base would be a far better approach. Alas governments just love wasting money, they are addicted too it. Green crap grants, HS2, Hinkley, defence procurement, the dire NHS, climate alarmism, gender pay reporting, the many pointless university courses ….. just to name a few insanities.

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      May 12, 2017

      Similar trend to GDP per capita @acorn.

      That is what happens when a Country imports it’s GDP increase.

  7. Bert Young
    May 12, 2017

    Money is one thing that schools need . Their efficiency and success is also very much dependent on the training and skills of the teaching staff .

    1. Know-dice
      May 12, 2017

      Agreed Bert

      The varying skills of state sector teachers is astonishing 🙁

      1. Lifelogic
        May 12, 2017

        Not helped by the fact that almost no one is ever fired, however useless they are.

  8. margaret
    May 12, 2017

    I wonder what help the private sector can give. Tesco’s issue small discs where the customer decides out of a choice of three who to contribute money to . Could this extend to other places, or even ask the customer direct for extra funding putting money into a prepared place for schools. We need charity at home. This would of course not be a long term solution but could be invested to make a top up fund locally.

  9. a-tracy
    May 12, 2017

    I don’t understand why there wasn’t more money for schools in England, we were told that was why tuition fees were being put up from £3290 to a massive £9000 for English teens, those graduates affected are now out of University and hopefully many repaying their loans when their Higher education used to be free as it still is in Scotland; Wales and N Ireland still gets mean-tested grants set against fees they don’t pay, so the government is taking a 9% graduate tax from English grads that didn’t used to exist.

    There would be a £7bn pupil premium we were told. Now Corbyn is pledging to remove University tuition fees what happens to all the children on a lifetime graduate tax of 9% on loans the majority of them can never hope to repay because of massive interest rate hikes, will they get their loans written off or will it just be the generation born in 1990 to 2000 that get hit because if so that’s going to go down like a bag of sick. Corbyn also needs to be asked what will happen to refill the £7bn hole left by students not paying their own tuition fees for the pupil premium for English schools, Corbyn knows the rich relocate it’s the middle that will be paying or the UK will sink in debt and more borrowing and that’s an awful lot of people.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    May 12, 2017

    I see Cameron has stated that a large Conservative majority is necessary to ensure a soft Brexit and to overrule Eurosceptic MPs, which presumably includes you.

    Reply A decent majority means being able to get through the necessary legislation and having a mandate to limit the Lords efforts to get in the way of the popular will.

    1. Anonymous
      May 12, 2017

      Clearly Remain are maneuvering to read a Conservative majority as a clamouring for ‘soft’ Brexit.

      What is needed is:

      A) A set of manifesto proposals from the Conservatives indicating ‘full’ Brexit wth strict immigration and a preparedness to walk away from a bad EU deal. (Though then Remain/Miller will then move on to quibbling about the definition of a ‘bad’ EU deal.)

      B) A set of manifesto proposals from the Lib Dems indicating that they offer ‘soft’ Brexit.

      The People then have a clear choice and when the Conservatives win by a landslide no-one can deny the mandate.

      Useful idiots, these Lib Dems and their supporters.

      Let’s not get side tracked too much with Labour – they’re out of it. The Lib Dems are the threat now. They have become the Remainer’s UKIP option.

      Brexit isn’t just about leaving the EU btw. It will make us freer to deal with chav parents who make schools unmanageable and costly.

      A dunk in cold Arctic water will reinvigorate our country and do it the world of good.


      The system we have had up until now – of soft soaping our own people while importing replacements – is utter madness and the national debt proves it.

      1. Anonymous
        May 12, 2017

        BTW – I cannot believe that we are re-running the referendum but that is what this election is now.

        1. Denis Cooper
          May 12, 2017

          Actually it’s more like a referendum on whether the government should keep the promise it made before the last referendum:

          “This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide.”

          The split in this election will not be the same as the 52%:48% split of the referendum because most of the 48% who voted Remain think that the government should keep its word even though the decision was not the one they wanted.

          In fact even the New Statesman has now come to see that the claimed “48%” no longer exists:

          “The Remain delusion: “the 48 per cent” do not exist”

          “After voting Remain, they ceased to act as a unified political bloc. The crucial figure for understanding May’s decision to pursue Brexit is not “the 48 per cent” or “the 52 per cent” but the 69 per cent – the number who believe the government has a duty to leave the EU (more than a third of whom voted Remain). A mere 21 per cent agree that the government should either block Brexit or seek to prevent it through a second referendum.”

          1. Anonymous
            May 13, 2017

            And most of the 48% I know voted so because of Project Fear.

            The disatisfaction rate with the EU is so high throughout that there is ‘populism’.

            The EU is doing its best to make us the common enemy to unify the 27 against.

    2. Denis Cooper
      May 12, 2017

      I think Cameron still wants to avoid an extreme Brexit, that is to say one which would involve Britain leaving the EU. Like some others he’d be happier with a Nexit.

      1. Lifelogic
        May 12, 2017

        Who care what the fake “Euro Skeptic”, “low tax at heart” failed conman Cameron thinks?

    3. Brian Tomkinson
      May 12, 2017

      I hope you are right and that we aren’t being taken for fools.

    4. alan jutson
      May 12, 2017


      Cameron still does not get it does he.

      This is a bloke who won an election by default simply because he offered Brexit and no other Party did, other than UKIP.

      He then said he was not in favour of Brexit but would negotiate with the EU anyway by begging them to offer him something/anything which he could hang his hat on, but failed.

      He then promised to remain Prime Minister no matter what the result.

      He read the Referendum Wrong, got all embarrassed, and resigned after previously promising to enact Article 50 the next day if we voted Leave.

      He does not seem to understand that many of UKIPs 4,000,000 votes could go Conservative if Mrs May was strong to Leave.

      By speaking up the way he has, he is likely to lose the Conservative Party some previously valuable UKIP votes.

      Now he still calls himself a Eurosceptic, sorry but the man simply cannot be trusted, he has shown his true colours by his past words and actions, in truth he never wanted to leave the EU, and he really wants a so called soft Brexit where we are still ruled by the EU.

      Given he has failed so spectacularly, one wonders why he is still trying to interfere in Party matters.

    5. Lifelogic
      May 12, 2017

      I have little faith in May (and even less in self employed mugger Hammond). Not only was she an ex(?) remainer she clearly has very potty, left wing, high tax, interventionist economic ideas too. Let us hope that she actually delivers (or is forced to deliver) by the sensible wing.

  11. English Pensioner
    May 12, 2017

    Just a small matter in the overall costs of schools, but how much does it cost to buy all these “use once” books where the children write their answers in the books instead of a separate sheet of paper? In my days, most of our text books had the names of quite a few previous users written in them and we rarely saw new ones.
    The printers and publishers must be doing nicely out of it compared with the past!

  12. JM
    May 12, 2017

    If we really want to have better schools we have to address the mindset that appears to shackle a greater part of the teaching body – mediocrity. I have no research to back up what follows, but I have heard first hand too often that when pupils express a desire to do something difficult, they are discouraged lest they fail and are damaged by that failure. Pupils are discouraged from applying to Oxbridge because they might not succeed. They are discouraged from applying to join a profession – children from this school don’t do that. If teachers don’t encourage and assist pupils to strive to be the best that they can be, even if that does mean that they will fall short, we will never progress beyond mediocrity. If you don’t try, you will never succeed.

  13. Jerry
    May 12, 2017

    Why have previously published comments in the “Some reality breaks out in the EU” debate disappeared or had their status reverted back to “Awaiting moderation” over night, and before any wise cracks from the likes of Eddiie the wonder troll, I’m talking about other peoples comments as well as my own.


    Reply No idea. Not something I did

    1. Edward2
      May 12, 2017

      Bit rude Jerry
      I try to be reasonable and stick to the topic but you often have a personal dig.

    2. leave won
      May 12, 2017

      Yes Jerry
      Who else has access to our” non shared email ” ?

  14. Sakara Gold
    May 12, 2017

    Maybe if we can improve state schools they would produce well educated economists who could enter politics and change the current system, in which governments of either flavour actively sell critical infrastructure assets to foreigners for hard currency to keep the trade deficits down. The resulting stupendous sums that leave the country in the form of dividends, profits etc distort the forex markets and impoverish all of us. This problem now extends to ex-council housing, which due to right-to-buy legislation now means that our social housing stock is owned by gigantic USA pension funds and not the people that Mrs Thatcher wanted to help!

  15. Denis Cooper
    May 12, 2017

    Off-topic, I hope that the Conservative election manifesto will take into account the recent developments regarding the future position of EU citizens who were already settled in this country when we voted to leave the EU.

    In particular I saw this yesterday:

    “Brexit-affected citizens want special deal on rights”

    “EU citizens and British expats caught up in Brexit limbo are in the European Parliament on Thursday (11 May), asking MEPs to help ring-fence their rights as the UK leaves the union.
    They want the EU to secure a separate agreement on guaranteeing all existing rights of EU citizens to make sure they are safe even if there was no deal on the conditions of the UK’s exit, a scenario which many describe as a “nightmare”.”

    Well, Theresa May tried to get separate bilateral agreements with the governments of other EU member states, but she was rebuffed because Germany in particular wanted it to form part of the Article 50 negotiations with the EU as a whole, and now:

    “… citizens fear that since both sides say that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, they face a gruelling period of uncertainty throughout the two-year-long negotiations.”

    Arguably a few months delay before formalising bilateral agreements on their position would not have been too bad, but that has already been stretched out to ten months, with the prospect of the period of uncertainty now being extended for another two years.

    The UK government cannot force the other governments into expediting a standalone agreement, which is what these blameless people need, but it still could take the kind of unilateral action demanded by the Commons last July 6th:

    “Boris Johnson sides with Labour to condemn Government over status of EU nationals”

    Condemnation shared by the great majority of Leave voters as well as Remain voters, then and probably even more now. And realistically even without any reciprocal agreement we are not going to embark on mass deportations, are we?

    In my view this is an opportunity to:

    a) Correct the original error and commit to doing the right thing; while

    b) Saving face for changing policy, it being the EU which has decided that this matter will be covered by its principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”; and also

    c) Reclaim the moral highground in the eyes of the world.

    1. Know-dice
      May 12, 2017

      DC, we have agonised over this before 🙁

      How would your proposal deal with UK citizens living in the rest of EU land if the EU subsequently decides to give them less rights than EU citizens living in the UK?

      Or, uses them as “bargaining chips” in the upcoming negotiations?


      1. Denis Cooper
        May 13, 2017

        My first thought is that it is reasonable to make our treatment of the EU migrants in the UK conditional upon their own, personal, good behaviour, but it is unreasonable and unjust to treat them badly as a reprisal for bad behaviour by the politicians in their countries of origin, over whom they have virtually no control.

        My second thought is that we cannot force the politicians in those EU countries to behave decently with respect to our expatriate citizens, not even by uttering threats against their citizens in the UK, but we can set our own good example which would shift the reputational damage onto them, rather than having it pinned on us as it is being now. So there would be moral as well as diplomatic pressure for them to do the right thing.

        And my third thought is, as I said above, that whatever happens we are not going to adopt a policy of mass deportation of these people, are we, and as the governments of the other EU countries are no doubt well aware of that they actually have little value as “bargaining chips” anyway.

        It would be a simple matter to pass a short Bill saying that even after we have left the EU normal UK immigration policy will not apply to EU (or EEA) citizens who were already settled here on June 23rd 2016, with some provision for the minister to quickly add to the categories of those exempted as difficult detailed cases arise, as they inevitably will.

        1. Denis Cooper
          May 13, 2017

          Oh, and my other thought is that the UK government should strongly reject the suggestion that this matter must be settled at the EU level as part of the Article 50 negotiations, leaving these people in limbo for another two years. Having laid down our own national position unilaterally Theresa May should then go back to trying to get more detailed bilateral agreements with each of the other governments to apply just to their citizens.

          1. Know-Dice
            May 13, 2017

            Thanks for that DC, your final thought works for me 🙂

          2. Denis Cooper
            May 14, 2017

            I’ve just seen David Davis say on the tiresome Peston programme TV that this should be an exception to the rule that “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

  16. I am the egg man
    May 12, 2017

    This keys in with the cyber attack upon our hositals just now. We were taught in Infant School, first year, with nice little illustrations of a young girl with a wicker basket on her arm picking up eggs and placing them in the one basket.

    Which little girl is responsible for IT as a whole basket , in the NHS?

    1. hefner
      May 13, 2017

      For what I have read, this attack is international in its scope (73 countries and counting). The particular problem with the NHS might have been the lack of money/time/IT specialists to get a properly resilient system.

      Maybe we wait a bit longer (40 years?) and we’ll learn that the EU referendum as the recent French elections had been (successfully?) tweaked by (choose your country) hackers.

  17. educatio
    May 12, 2017

    What is the extra money for?

    I read many texts of old books online by classic authors which are out of copyright. For Free. I shall not name the charitable organisation responsible. Well known.It has 53,000 free ebooks and rising.These can be printed out for any class or better certain chapters. This facility was not available in the bad old days. Of course those printed out chapters can be used again and again. Many of the history books written say in 1948 were written by authors who personally experienced warfare. What could be better than that? It beats a book by Percy know-it-all Perfect age 21, written in 2017 after reading books about books about books about the war.
    2+2 equalled 4, fifty years ago so also the mathematics at this level does not require “modern” books and a bill.
    Before any more money is directed at education I would expect every item requested to be inspected and the headmasters list be ticked or a cross put against it and sent back for him with “Try harder! ” if necessary.

  18. DowntotheCountryside
    May 12, 2017

    A good subject in schools..and someone needs a great deal of re-education and re-training to do it…would be described

    ” Which jobs nowadays where a worker is instructed to interface at certain times with a computer do not in fact require it and would be profitable to do without it. ” Titled

    It would require a teacher who can think: a rarity. One who could de-construct , de-format and rejig his own education and training which has been inflicted upon him for years by an ideologically driven education system bringing untold ruin.

  19. Iain Gill
    May 12, 2017

    I have kids in state schools, so in many ways I am the Turkey voting for Christmas here, so I should know. Also one of my old friends was a school teacher (died recently).
    The problem with state schools has nothing to do with lack of money. Rather like the NHS politicians just banging on about the money makes me sad in the extreme.
    Stop all this nonsense, divide the national education budget up by the number of children in schools, and send all the parents in the land a cheque at the beginning of each term.
    Shut the council education depts.
    Make head teachers compete for the parents cheques.
    Within 3 years I guarantee the schools would be a whole lot better at educating the children, and their budgets would be run a whole lot more efficiently (and their income would have gone up significantly as all the council education dept overheads would have been removed).
    It’s the bloomin obvious. Give the parents buying power.

Comments are closed.