Theresa May has been accused of making empty promises to properly fund schools after two in her own constituency sent out begging letters for basic equipment.
Bosses told parents they were so cash-strapped due to Tory cuts they had no choice but to ask for £190 a year donations for “glue, pens, pencils, exercise books, paper, tape, paint”.
The pleas came from Robert Piggott infant and junior schools in Wargrave, Berks – both in the PM’s Maidenhead constituency.
The letter blamed “national changes to school funding” for the crisis.
Mrs May has repeatedly bragged of her commitment to education, insisting there are now “record levels of funding”.
But Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said: “The Government can spin all they like but the reality is that Tory cuts are hitting schools badly, even in the PM’s own constituency.
Heads are so desperate they are begging parents for the cash they need to keep teaching kids.
Theresa May was elected to represent Maidenhead on a manifesto that guaranteed to protect school funding but she can’t even keep promises to her own voters let alone the rest of the country.”
Lib Dem education spokeswoman Layla Moran added: “The harsh impact of school cuts are now being felt in the Prime Minister’s own backyard.
“It beggars belief that in 21st century Britain, cash-strapped schools are having to ask parents to pay for basic equipment. It is undermining the state-funded schools system.
“We wouldn’t stand for NHS patients being asked to pay for equipment, we shouldn’t stand for it in our schools.
“This government needs to end these harsh cuts and ensure no school is left without the basic resources they need.”The National Education Union warned funding cuts were “digging deep”.
Joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “It is hard for schools to manage without being subsidised by staff and parents.
“Parents should not be expected to pay for their children’s education. And it is wrong to rely on the goodwill of parents to meet the shortfall.”
Mums and dads, already struggling with rising living costs, gathered at the school yesterday. Most said they were not happy with the added burden.
One, Neil Harling, said: “It’s not good. But we’ll pay it if it helps the children. I don’t think we should be paying.”
But another frustrated dad added: “I won’t be paying for it and that’s it.”
The letter, seen by the Mirror, was sent on Tuesday. It read: “Following discussion with the PTA, we would like to suggest parents donate £1 per school per day for each child to help this crisis. This equates to £190 per year.”
It said the cash raised will also help to pay for tools, software, science equipment, musical instruments and help keep the levels of teaching support staff.
The schools, under the authority of Tory-led Wokingham borough council, are run by the Robert Piggott CE Federation. Executive head Sally Ann Aker said: “Like many schools, we are experiencing rising costs in the face of reduced funding.
“Whilst committed to the principle of state-funded education we have reached the stage where we need to ask parents and the community to consider making voluntary donations to help meet the predicted shortfall in funding. This decision has not been taken lightly.”
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “The introduction of the National Funding Formula from 2018/19, backed by £1.3billion of additional investment will put an end to historic disparities.
“Robert Piggott schools are set to gain around £10,000 a year in total.”