Funding for pupils in Scotland has plummeted since the start of the decade, with spending falling by hundreds of pounds per head, new figures have revealed.
Analysis published by Labour of the Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) suggests real terms spending per primary school pupil fell by £427 a head from £5,411 in 2010/11 to £4,984 in 2017/18.
The figures also reveal a drop in real terms spending for pupils at secondary schools – down by £266 from £7,145 to £6,879 over the same period.
Labour claims that Scottish Government policies, including the Pupil Equity Fund and the Scottish Attainment Challenge, are not coming close to reversing cuts that preceded them. The party’s education spokesman, Iain Gray, MSP, said: “For almost a decade now the SNP has failed to stand up to Tory austerity and instead turned Holyrood into a conveyor belt for cuts.
“The consequences of that is huge falls in per head spending for our school pupils, with spending per primary pupil over £400 less in real terms than it was in 2010.
“We can’t give our young people the best chance to get on in life while cutting school budgets and we will not see the attainment gap close with overworked teachers facing increasing class sizes.
“Labour would make the richest pay our fair share to invest in our pupils, teachers and schools to make Scotland a world leader in education again.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told Scots she wants to be “judged on her record” in tackling the gap in schooling standards between poorer and more affluent areas.
A spokesman for education secretary John Swinney said: “It takes some level of brass neck for Labour to blame the SNP for Tory austerity when they themselves campaigned to ensure that the Tories at Westminster will continue to set Scotland’s budget and be able to inflict austerity on our public services.”
The spokesman added: “Despite the constraints placed on our budget by Westminster, total revenue spending on schools has risen by over £600 million since the SNP took office and spend per pupil is increasing.
“Recent figures revealed that over 94 per cent of pupils had a ‘positive destination’, including work, training or further study, within three months of leaving school last year.
“They also showed pupils are staying at school for longer and gaining more qualifications between fourth and sixth year.
“The attainment gap between school-leavers achieving a pass at Higher Level or better is at a record low.”