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'School funding cuts are a myth' claim Tower Hamlets Tories accusing Labour of by-election scare mongering

PUBLISHED: 12:03 25 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:18 25 January 2019

Tory group leader Andrew Wood...

Tory group leader Andrew Wood... "Labour supplied misleading school funding statistics." Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Claims of “scaremongering” over school funding cuts using misleading figures have been levelled against Tower Hamlets’ ruling Labour group despite education budgets said to be the best in the whole country.

The allegation was made at this week’s Tower Hamlets Council meeting by the Conservative opposition following a press statement to the East London Advertiser.

The Labour group statement quoted National Education Union figures showing 31 schools facing £24million cuts from a switch in government funding formula, reported on January 15.

But Tower Hamlets gets the highest funding in the country for each primary school pupil and the second highest for each secondary pupil, Tory councillors pointed out on Wednesday.

“Labour supplied misleading statistics in the middle of two by-election campaigns,” Tory Group leader Andrew Wood told the meeting.

“Either the mayor mislead the people or doesn’t understand how schools are funded.

“Parents should not be scared away by this propaganda. Pupils leaving schools is the reason for financial problems.”

The top five areas for funding per primary pupil in the country are Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Southwark, Lambeth and Camden, it was pointed out.

The Tories claim Labour “failed to mention” 58 Tower Hamlets schools having funding raised, while only 30 had budgets reduced, mainly through dwindling numbers.

“If a child moves school their funding moves with them,” Cllr Wood added. “One school’s gain is another’s loss.”

Total school budgets went up by 2.4 per cent year on year, just above inflation, Tories insist, while funding on pupil numbers went up by 2.6pc.

Tower Hamlets has the highest funding through Pupil Premium money for children eligible for free school meals, it was pointed out.

The biggest reported loss in Labour’s press statement was Whitechapel’s Mulberry School at £282,000, followed by Osmani Primary, Stepney Green Mathematics College and Green Spring Academy. Other primary schools reported hit by budget cuts included St Anne’s, Canon Barnet, Hermitage and Malmesbury primaries.

Labour had blamed a switch in government funding away from deprived inner city areas like the East End to more affluent areas across the country.

The funding formula was changed in 2018 following lobbying by local authorities in more-affluent areas which believed they were being underfunded. But this was challenged last January by 24 local authorities representing more than a-million schoolchildren in the inner cities including Tower Hamlets The funding formula was changed in 2018 following lobbying by local authorities in more-affluent areas which believed they were being underfunded. But this was challenged last January by 24 local authorities representing more than a-million schoolchildren in the inner cities including Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham, Hackney and Newham.

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