A GROUP of school heads have met with government ministers over concerns a school funding shake up could lead to greater class sizes.

School heads of several schools across the Fareham area met with Suella Fernandes, the MP for Fareham and minister for schools, Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP at the Department of Education (DFE) after concerns were raised by concerned teachers who claim that the reduction in budgets will make class sizes larger and lead to a reduction in support for pupils.

Under the DFE’s proposed new funding formula, schools across the Fareham borough will see a 21% increase in net funding, or equivalent to £952,000.

Schools that are expected to benefit include Brookfield Community School in Sarisbury Green stands to gain £141,000 per year under the new formula, whilst Whiteley Primary School will see an increase of £122,000 per year and Harrison Primary School in Fareham will see an increase of £92,000.

However, across the borough, around 10 of Fareham’s 21 schools will lose out on funding cuts between £7,000 and £96,000 per annum.

Denise Fletcher Lewis, Chair of the Board of Governors at Porchester Community School – which the DFE claims would be the worst affected schools in the borough - said the cuts aren’t “painting a pretty picture”.

She added: “There is so much in the press about the health and mental wellbeing of pupils and we have the support set up within school with our Elsa, pastoral support and school councillor who all play a very important role.

“These roles could be in danger if continuing with the proposed cuts in our overall budget.”

Ms Fernandes said: “‘I requested the meeting so schools from Fareham could have their say directly with those in Government making the decisions on schools funding. The meeting was very productive and I am glad that I could help by making it happen.

“Inevitably, some schools will lose and some will gain under the new formula, so the changes are controversial.

“However, in the long run, funding will be fairer and more consistent across the country and will on average benefit schools in Fareham as we will see an overall increase in the budget for schools.”

Councillor Sean Woodward, the leader of Fareham Borough Council welcomed the discussions adding: “I’m glad that most Fareham schools are protected for the majority, across Fareham alone, we’ve seen 75% of our local government funding cut in the last 7 years however schools have always been safeguarded and they will continue to do so.”

But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) which released their own statistics on school cuts last month claim the new government formula aimed at delivering fair funding was ‘’nonsense’’ predicting that both Fareham Borough and Hampshire will be £62 million worse off by 2019-20.

Kevin Courtney, the NUT’s General Secretary said: “It cannot be fair without new money, there is a gaping hole in the school budget and it is only set to increase through inflation and a rise in pupil numbers.

“The government has the wrong priorities, they must listen to teachers, heads, support staff and indeed their own backbenchers. Every MP should be deeply concerned about the crisis in school funding.”