A CROSS-party consensus is building after Liberal Democrat councillors backed a Labour pledge to reverse school funding cuts if elected.

Last week Labour councillors agreed to lobby the education secretary to reverse spending cuts to schools at 67 secondary and primary schools in Swindon.

Stan Pajak, leader of the Lib Dem group, joined the pledge ahead of the local elections on May 2.

He told the Adver: “We are definitely in favour of supporting it.

“Teaching is a real high-pressured job right now, and it never used to be.

“If you look at how much time children spend in school, it’s a real full-time education and that needs more resources.

“And it’s one of those things that lots of problems stem from, there is definitely a need for more money in education.”

Debbie Brown, secretary of the Swindon National Education Union district, said: “We are over the moon that local lib Dems have joined a growing coalition of parents, candidates and councillors from various political parties and education unions to demand that our schools and children receive the funding they deserve.

“With a broad consensus now forming across society that schools are being dangerously underfunded, we call on the government to listen to parents, governors and education workers about the depth of the funding crisis."

She added that claims of increases to school budgets “won’t ring true” with parents and teachers managing dwindling resources.

Council leader David Renard rejected the claims outright.

“It is a bit rich for the Labour Party to talk about fairer funding – in the 13 years they were in office they did nothing to address fairer funding and Labour MPs continue to oppose the government’s plans to introduce it,” he said.

“Since 2010, core school funding in Swindon is up by more than £16 million a year in addition to a total of £48 million of targeted funding for disadvantaged pupils in Swindon.

“We welcome that the Conservative Government has delivered record funding for our local schools enabling us to deliver many new high quality schools and school places.”

The NEU Swindon branch and Swindon Fair Funding for All Schools group have arranged a public meeting at Lainesmead Primary School at 7pm on April 24.

Mike Welsh, head teacher at Goddard Park Primary will address the meeting with Kiri Tunks, president of the NEU.