By Democrat reporter

Dumbarton constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie, has called for immediate action as new figures reveal that schools in West Dunbartonshire have faced significant funding cuts despite the local authority being a designated ‘challenge authority’.

The £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund is a targeted initiative focused on supporting pupils in the local authorities with the highest concentrations of deprivation.

There are nine ‘challenge authorities’, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire, East Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire.

Between 2010/11 and 2017/18, there was a 9% reduction in average spend per primary school pupil, and an 11% reduction in average spend per secondary school pupil in West Dunbartonshire.

The figures reveal that West Dunbartonshire has suffered the biggest loss of funding for secondary school pupils and the funding cut is significantly above the average cut for secondary school pupils of 2.9%.

Jackie Baillie said: “West Dunbartonshire suffers from significant pockets of poverty and unemployment. This is backed up by its designation as a ‘challenge authority’ but the attainment gap will never be closed when the funding set aside to address this is being cut.

“Despite attainment challenge funding, Scotland’s most deprived communities, including those in West Dunbartonshire, are seeing brutal cuts in school classrooms.

“The SNP claim that education is their top priority, but their cuts to local authority budgets prove that this is not the case.

“West Dunbartonshire Council is now reporting that their ability to raise attainment is at risk and that national expectations for education will not be delivered. This is a crisis and the Scottish Government need to restore funding.”

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