Wigan schools set for government windfall

Borough schools could be in line for a cash injection
Borough schools could be in line for a cash injection

An opposition politician says Wigan schools are in for a windfall from the Government’s latest plans for investment in education.

Coun Michael Winstanley, who is the leader of the opposition in the Wigan Council chamber and also heads the borough’s Conservative Party, claims primary and secondary schools will benefit to the tune of thousands of pounds per pupil.

Secondary schools could be in for a boost of at least £5,000 for each young person they teach next year while primary schools will get a minimum of £4,000 per pupil from 2021-22, the Conservatives say.

There has also been praise for the suggestion that per pupil funding will be levelled up across the country.

However, there has been a mixed reaction to the Government’s announcement with one borough Labour MP criticising ministers on social media after a national press report suggested it would be largely Conservative seats or target constituencies which would see the biggest benefits.

Coun Winstanley said: “I am delighted that the Prime Minister has delivered on his pledge to level up per pupil funding across the country so every child in the Wigan borough has a world class education.

“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservatives can deliver the change people want, giving every child the best start and properly funding our schools, getting this country back on the road to a brighter future.”

The Conservatives have pledged £14bn for schools, including an extra £700m for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Mr Johnson also said the £4.5bn gap in teachers’ pension funding will be found from outside the education budget.

However, one national newspaper’s report painted a rather less rosy picture of the promises of a cash splurge.

It claimed that schools across the north of England will lose out while grammar schools will be among the biggest winners.

More than 90 per cent of schools which will receive a boost of more than £100 per year per pupil are in Conservative seats, the report said.

That meant the biggest benefits will be seen in areas where Tory MPs are already sitting or where the party hopes to be triumphant in the next general election.

The negative report produced a resigned response from Leigh’s Labour MP Jo Platt.

Ms Platt wrote on social media: “Not surprised nor shocked, just absolutely fed up with this shambles of a Government.”