THE MP for North Cornwall has defended the record of the government after claims of implementing ‘real-terms school cuts’. 

Cornwall Liberal Democrats have said that schools across the duchy will receive a £11.8-million cut to spending across 2024/2025, citing data from the National Education Union (NEU). The party has demanded the government address the issue by boosting funding for local schools as they ‘struggle to balance the books’. 

They added that it would represent a £168 cut for each pupil currently attending school. 

However, Scott Mann, the MP for North Cornwall has responded to the claims, saying that funding in Cornwall had increased every year since he became the member of parliament for the area. 

In their criticism, the Cornwall Liberal Democrats said: There are 266 schools in Cornwall. 227 of which will have less spending power in 2024/25 as a result of these funding cuts. For Primary schools in Cornwall, there will be a £147 reduction in spending power per pupil over the next financial year, and in Secondary schools there will be a £221 fall in spending power per pupil.

“Cornwall’s Liberal Democrats have warned that the fall in spending power will push already stretched school budgets to the brink, with a worse educational experience for pupils and worse outcomes.

“It comes as new data released shows that this Conservative Government has cut the annual growth in funding in cash terms from 8 per cent in 2023/4 to 3.1 per cent in 2024/5. Liberal Democrat Deputy Group Leader and Councillor for Bodmin St Petroc Leigh Frost said: “This Conservative government has failed Cornwall’s children. Parents in our community should not have to send their children to schools which have had their funding decimated by a Conservative government that has lost interest in providing high-quality education.

“Investing in education is investing in our future but this Conservative government has let school buildings crumble and overseen a severe shortage of teachers. Far from preparing the next generation for the future, ministers have totally abandoned them. It is time for change.’

Responding to the claims, Scott Mann MP said that funding had been frozen under his predecessor. He said: “Per-pupil funding has risen every year since I was elected MP in 2015. It was frozen under our previous MP.

“Throughout my time in Parliament I have sought to close the gap the last government created between urban school funding and rural school funding; this gap is shrinking.

“Independent research and figures can be found at the House of Commons library.”