PM in ‘outright denial’ over school funding, says Corbyn

Labour leader accuses Theresa May of using 'Orwellian words', and says 26 schools are now closing early on Fridays due to lack of funding

Tes Reporter

teresa May

Theresa May is in "outright denial" over schools' funding, Jeremy Corbyn claimed today, as he warned that some are closing early on Fridays and hundreds are crowdfunding for equipment.

The Labour leader attacked the government's education record during a heated session of Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, where he said 26 schools "close early on a Friday every week because they don't have enough money to keep themselves open".

He added: "There are more than 1,000 schools across England that are turning to crowdfunding websites with a wish list of things they want to raise money to buy – really exotic things like pencils, like glue, like textbooks.

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"Why are they forced to do this if they allegedly have enough money in the first place?"

Mrs May said the government was putting "record levels" of cash into schools, as well as implementing a "fairer distribution of funding".

She said: "We are giving every area more money for every pupil in every school."

Mr Corbyn later criticised Mrs May's "Orwellian words", such as "fair funding”, despite schools' struggles with funding levels, and highlighted cutbacks to creative arts subjects.

He noted: "Are the artists and actors of tomorrow only to come from the private schools, while she continues to cut the funding for state schools?"

Mr Corbyn added: "When the prime minister says school funding has been protected, she's denying the daily experience of teachers, parents and pupils.

"She's denying the incontrovertible evidence of the IFS [Institute for Fiscal Studies], education bodies and teaching unions. She is actually in outright denial.

"When the wealth of the richest 1,000 people has increased by £50 billion in the last year alone, don't tell us the money isn't there for our children's schools."

Mrs May replied: "The richest have paid more tax every year under the Conservatives than in any year under a Labour government."

The PM reiterated that "record levels" of funding were being put into schools, before adding: "What matters is the quality of education our children get.

"Labour oppose the phonics checks, they want to scrap academies and free schools, they want to abolish Sats. That doesn't help to raise the standards in our schools."

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