HEADTEACHERS from across Wokingham have added their names to a 5,500-strong petition calling on the Chancellor to allocate more funding to schools.

The move comes after a primary school in West London announced it is considering cutting school hours to cope with the mounting financial pressures.

The petition was started by West Sussex-based campaign Worth Less? which called on schools to send the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, an ‘invoice’ for the money that they would need to ensure all schools receive equal funding.

In the letters to Mr Hammond, the headteachers wrote: “The negative difference between Worth Less? schools (the total funding received by schools in 32 counties) and Westminster (the same number of students funded at the Westminster per-pupil average) – is in excess of £3.5bn.” 

Wokingham students are among the worst-funded in the country, receiving only £3,724 per primary school pupil, and £4,743 per secondary school pupil. By contrast, students in Westminster primary schools receive £5,247, and secondary students receive £6,756.

Schools in Hackney receive a total of £226,066,666 in funding, but Wokingham schools receive less than half of this amount at £105,581,666.

Many schools in the worst-funded areas have warned that they are being forced to cut classes and not replace staff as a way to make ends meet.

However, the Department for Education (DfE) called the campaign’s figures ‘misleading’ and insisted that schools would see an increase in funding from this year.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The campaign’s calculations are thoroughly misleading, and ignore the fact that under our national funding formula, funding is based on the needs and characteristics of each individual school.

“There are no cuts in funding. Every school will see an increase in funding through the formula from this year, and in 2019-20 all secondary schools will attract at least £4,800 per pupil, and all primary schools will attract at least £3,500 per pupil.”

Schools campaigner Annabel Yoxall, from the Wokingham Borough Schools Fair Funding Campaign, said: “The invoice sent to the Chancellor by headteachers demonstrates again their commitment to fair funding and the desperate need for additional funding in our schools. 

“Wokingham is to receive some additional funding but we need more. The extra will mean that we are the second lowest funded area rather than the lowest. However, this is hardly a major achievement having started right at the bottom. 

“Fair Funding For All Schools recently met with all the parent groups in London. We will soon be coordinating our next actions and the pressure will continue to remain on the Chancellor in the coming months particularly in the lead up to the local elections.