SCHOOLS in the Totnes Constituency face cuts of £1.7 million next year and may be forced to choose between “teaching children or heating classrooms,” it is feared.

South Hams Liberal Democrats are calling on the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to protect education spending and not make “children and young people pay for the Conservatives’ botched budget” by cutting school and college funding further during the Autumn Statement, due to be presented on Thursday November 17.

Figures published on November 8 by the ‘School Cuts’ campaign run by teaching unions, reveal that schools in Totnes constituency will have £158 less to spend per pupil next year (2023/24) compared to this year (2022/23), meaning 32 of 37 schools in the constituency will see a reduction in their spending power next year compared to this year, says the Lib Dems

“These figures are truly shocking,” said Caroline Voaden, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Totnes.

“How can we even begin to have a conversation about levelling up, when schools across the country are facing yet more cuts?

“Headteachers are already warning they will have to cut teaching assistant posts, mental health support and school clubs to make ends meet. “

The Lib Dems say the figures estimate the true spending power that schools have after increases in teacher salaries, pensions, tax and non-staff costs have all been taken into account.

And that it comes after the Government instructed council-run schools to give teachers a much-deserved pay rise of between 5 per cent and 8.9 per cent this year, but gave schools no extra money to pay for it, meaning that they had to make cuts elsewhere.

Overall, nine in ten schools across England will have less spending power next year compared to this year; and more than two in three schools in England will have a lower spending power next year than in 2015, the party says.

Caroline added: “Under this Government, schools must choose between teaching children or heating classrooms.

“Liberal Democrats know that ‘levelling up’ means nothing unless all our children are given the best start possible.

“That means investing in our children’s futures.

“Parents and teachers will be rightly angry if the Chancellor announces more cuts to schools and colleges.”