Swindon Labour candidate accuses Tories of maths bungle hitting town's schools

By Barrie Hudson - 22 November 2023

PoliticsEducation
  • South Swindon Labour Parliamentary Candidate Heidi Alexander visiting a school

    South Swindon Labour Parliamentary Candidate Heidi Alexander visiting a school

Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for South Swindon has accused the Conservatives of staggering incompetence over schools funding.

Heidi Alexander says schools in Swindon will lose £1.65M next year. 

The Department for Education last month admitted and apologised for miscalculating the amounts of funding due to be granted to state schools in England next year, amounting to a £370m error in the information they gave schools in July. 

According to analysis of updated funding figures released today by the Labour Party, schools in Swindon will be £1.65M worse off - or £50 per pupil. 

The party says the error at the Department for Education will cause yet more pain for schools already struggling to balance budgets after years of uncertainty over long-term funding, and threatened to further weaken the relationship between local schools and families. 

Heidi Alexander said: “You couldn’t make this stuff up. Rishi Sunak insists that young people should be learning maths to the age of 18, yet Conservative Education Ministers don’t seem to know how to count. 

“Our schools have been pushed to breaking point in recent years and this sort of staggering incompetence just adds to the pressures already faced by headteachers who are trying to keep the show on the road.

“Schools in Swindon are grappling with teacher recruitment and retention problems, kids are struggling to catch up after covid and in other parts of the country, we’ve seen school buildings literally crumbling.

“Labour’s priority will be to put education at the heart of national life again, and to rebuild the trust between schools, families and Government so that we can drive high and rising standards in our classrooms, supporting children to achieve and thrive. 

“We will start by recruiting 6,500 more teachers and put mental health counsellors in every secondary school, paid for by ending private schools’ tax breaks.”

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