School Standards

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th June 1995.

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Photo of Mr Mark Robinson Mr Mark Robinson , Somerton and Frome 12:00 am, 27th June 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what increased resources her Department is providing to raise standards in primary and secondary schools in Somerset. [29114]

Photo of Eric Forth Eric Forth , Mid Worcestershire

My hon. Friend will have welcomed last week's decision to raise the capping limit for Somerset. It is, however, for the authority to decide the level of funding that it provides for its services, including education, from the increased total available. There is no clear causal connection between levels of education expenditure and standards achieved.

Photo of Mr Mark Robinson Mr Mark Robinson , Somerton and Frome

Despite the result of Somerset's appeal, is my hon. Friend aware that there are still to be 35 compulsory redundancies in schools in Somerset or thereabouts'? Does he realise that that runs counter to a pledge that was given by the Liberal Democrat leader of Somerset county council, that the £4 million agreed package with local Members of Parliament would obviate the need for such redundancies'? Does that not show that Liberal Democrats, as always, do not honour their commitments, do not stand by their pledges and are not prepared to put Somerset's children first?

Photo of Eric Forth Eric Forth , Mid Worcestershire

Yes. My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I was perplexed—nay, shocked—at what I learnt about Somerset. It does seem to me to be perverse, to say the least, although not surprising, that the Liberal Democrats should so casually go back on their promise. I hope that my hon. Friend and his constituents will press very hard indeed for an explanation from the authority as to why it is playing politics with children's education, and then seek to pressure that authority to use the increased money available to it to better education in the way that I am sure that all his constituents and other people in Somerset expected.