Petition calls on support to tackle school fund cuts

The campaign launch
The campaign launch

The government will betray a generation of youngsters in Wigan borough because of school budget cuts, a Labour candidate has claimed.

The government will betray a generation of youngsters in Wigan borough because of school budget cuts, a Labour candidate has claimed.

Kicking off her campaign for re-election, Yvonne Fovargue has launched a petition against the controversial new funding system.

Unions, school leaders and parents have highlighted in recent months how a vast majority of Wigan schools will lose out.

One calculation claims the reduction in budgets could work out at a cut of £505 for each pupil by 2020.

Ms Fovargue, who is seeking a third term as MP for Makerfield, said: “The Tories are overseeing the first real terms cut in the schools budget for over two decades.

“The Government has not made clear how the savings will be made, nor have they clearly stated to schools the ‘scale and pace’ of cost-cutting that is required. However, it appears to me that many local schools will face the prospect of job losses to balance the books, depriving our children of the excellent education they deserve.”

Ministers have said the school funding budget will be at a record level next year but critics have argued this does not factor in greater pupil numbers and rising running costs for schools.

Fears have been voiced the impact of the new system will mean schools will be forced to cutback on teaching posts, educational trips and resoruces and delay essential maintenance works.

Announced in December, the fairer funding system has been designed to ensure money is distributed more evenly between local authority areas, ministers have said.

But research by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) says 98 per cent of schools will see a per-pupil funding cut.

Reports in recent weeks have suggested Prime Minister Theresa May may be forced to re-think the system if her party does secure another term of government with some Tory MPs said to have warned of a rebellion.

Ms Fovargue, who is defending a majority of more than 13,000 in Makerfield, is calling on residents to sign the petition.

She added: “It makes no economic sense to betray a generation of our young people.

“Already we have a shortage of teachers, class sizes are soaring and reports from across the country show that the number of school places is not keeping up with the demand.”

Plugging a £3.7bn shortfall in school funding would cost the equivalent of a one per cent increase on basic income tax, experts have warned.