First published in Letters

LABOUR’s parliamentary candidate makes some valid points about funding for schools, pointing out the inequality in funding for Worcestershire compared with Birmingham over the last 20 years.

However, Labour were in government for 13 of those years and did little to fundamentally address this inequality.

In contrast the Liberal Democrats have introduced the pupil premium giving an additional £2.5billion for schools to provide support for those students who need it most.

For schools in the Malvern Hills district alone this amounts to about an extra £600,000 for primary schools and more than £500,000 for high schools in 2013/14.

While this does not address historic and geographic funding inequalities, it is enabling schools to invest in extra support to reduce the gap in progress, attendance and achievement between pupils from the poorest and most affluent backgrounds.

In addition, thanks to a Lib Dem initiative, every child in reception, year one and year two in state-funded schools will receive a free school lunch from September 2014, a policy given a cautious welcome by the Gazette recently.

The aim is to improve academic attainment and save families money – over the course of a year the average family spends £437 on school lunches per child.

These are clear examples of how the Lib Dems are working to build both a stronger economy and a fairer society giving all our children the chance to get on in life.

Cathy Jackson-Read

political spokesperson

West Worcestershire Liberal Democrats

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