Cumbernauld Labour politicans blast SNP over education funding

Scottish Labour politicians in Cumbernauld have blasted the Scottish Government for refusing to backtrack on controversial plans to strip North Lanarkshire schools of funding to close the poverty-related educational attainment gap.

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Holyrood chambers
Holyrood chambers

Last year the Scottish Government reduced the overall budget set aside to close the attainment gap in schools whilst also restructuring it so that councils with the most deprivation received a smaller proportion of the overall fund.

Scottish Labour MSPs forced a vote in Parliament this week (May 18) calling on the Government to reinstate the lost funds, but this was opposed by SNP and Greens MSPs.

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Central Scotland Labour MSP Mark Griffin said: “It is astonishing that not one SNP MSP representing North Lanarkshire supported this motion, instead choosing to double down on deep cuts to local schools. The First Minister used to say that closing the poverty-related educational attainment gap was a priority for her Government – this decision makes abundantly clear that is no longer the case.”

Scottish Labour Councillor for Cumbernauld South, James McPhilemy, added: “Schools in Cumbernauld South, and right across North Lanarkshire, will have less money to spend to support pupils as a consequence of this decision. How can that possibly be fair? I urge every SNP and Green MSP, especially those representing Cumbernauld, to think again.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Investment to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap is increasing and our record funding of £1 billion over this Parliament is empowering schools to drive education recovery and accelerate progress.

“All pupils experiencing poverty will benefit from targeted funding in 2022-23. The model, which sees all Local Authorities receive Strategic Equity Funding for the first time, was agreed with Cosla and provides a fairer reflection of the numbers impacted by poverty.

“The redistribution of Attainment Challenge funding is taking place over four years, supporting authorities to transition to their share over time.”