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‘Socialist Eton’ spends £15k on £62-a-pot paint and £6,000 on candles

‘Socialist Eton’ splashes £15,000 on £62-a-pot luxury paint and £6,000 on posh candles ‘to create a relaxing environment’

  • Holland Park School in west London spent £15,000 on luxury Farrow & Ball paint
  • It also blew £6,000 over three years on designer £47-each Jo Malone candles
  • Faces Government investigation as national education budget is being squeezed
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A state school known as the ‘socialist Eton’ is living up to good old Left-wing principles.

In this case, having spent £15,000 on luxury Farrow & Ball paint, it seems Holland Park School is showing that nothing is too good for the workers – and, indeed, the pupils.

Now it faces a Government investigation after it splashed out on the £62-a-pot brand while the national education budget is being squeezed.


Holland Park School in west London (pictured) spent £15,000 on luxury Farrow & Ball paint and £6,000 over three years on designer Jo Malone candles

The west London school also blew £6,000 over three years on designer Jo Malone candles, which cost up to £47 each, to create a ‘relaxing and inspiring environment’. 

Holland Park won its nickname by being the choice of rich socialists who avoid sending their children to private school because of their principles.

The lavish spending by Holland Park – which educated Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and Tony Benn’s daughter Melissa – was revealed by trade newspaper Schools Week following a Freedom of Information request.

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Academies minister Lord Agnew yesterday said: ‘The public will rightly ask how this benefits pupils. We will look into this.

‘We take the financial accountability of all schools very seriously and the department will take action when necessary.’ 

The school claimed that deluxe Farrow & Ball paint – favoured by former prime minister David Cameron – was ‘high quality and hard-wearing’ and ‘safe for children and the environment’.


The Harrow & Ball paint sells for around £62-a-pot. The school bought the paint while the national education budget is being squeezed

But Matthew Clements-Wheeler, chairman of the Institute of School Business Leadership, said the spending ‘looked luxurious’ and did not ‘add to educational outcomes’.

A 2.5-litre tin of Farrow & Ball costs up to £62 on the B&Q website, while the same size of Dulux emulsion costs £20.

The school’s spending also included £80,268 on furnishings from Insider Dealings, a bespoke interior design store.

A school spokesman said: ‘We appreciate that school funding levels mean the same choices are not open to all government-funded schools, but we provide the best education and environment for our students within our own budgetary restraints.

‘Through shrewd budgetary management, the school is able to report annually a healthy financial position.’

The school argued that Jo Malone candles also lasted ‘much longer than many cheaper brands’.

Holland Park is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

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