OUR local schools and education providers have shamefully been one of the biggest victims to austerity.

We know every primary school and every secondary school will face budget cuts.

Locally £4 million will be cut from primary school budgets and £4.3 million cut from secondary school budgets.

And across the country the Government has cut annual school funding by £1.7 billion in real terms since 2014-15.

And we are beginning to see the impact. The number of children at Key Stage One in class sizes over 30 for instance has increased by 91 per cent since 2011.

Providing the best quality education to our children is the best investment for the future any of us can decide.

But this Government have yet again begun to chip away at the edges of our education system, a system the envy of the world, for short-term budget savings.

And the Tories know what they are doing because last year they were investigated by the statistics watchdog for manipulating figures that made education spending appear higher than it actually was.

We cannot sit back as the Government slowly erode the pillars of our strong education system because if they do, we will all end up paying the price.

A weakened education system will impact us especially locally however, with training and upskilling our young people crucial to our economic renewal and revitalisation.

Despite these pressures, I am enormously proud of our incredible teachers. At a time when many are leaving the profession in desperation and exasperation at the painful and stressful situation they have been placed in, teachers across our towns have really stepped up.

Golborne High School for example is the best performing school in the borough, an achievement we should all be proud of.

But, in addition to the pre-16 education pressure, I am particularly concerned about our post-16 education across our towns. We have a well-known shortage of A-Level provisions in the constituency and we are also seeing a shortage of important non-academic educational routes such as apprenticeships.

The number of apprenticeships starts this academic year is down 17.6 per cent down on 2016-17. This is really letting down our young people who are not able to access the provisions they need to have the best possible start in life.

And The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found spending on further education and skills has fallen by £3.3 billion in real terms between 2010-11 and 2017-18, leaving our valuable further education sector severely underfunded.

We see a growing picture of an education system we could once all be proud of, becoming one that we are ashamed of.

Schools should not be asking parents for donations and it is shameful that we are even having to make that statement.

We need an education system that is truly cradle to grave, one that is properly funded and there for everyone no matter what your age, pre-qualifications, class or aspiration in life.

We need a fundamental transformation to our education system, one that we can all be proud of again, and that is exactly what Labour’s National Education Service proposals will deliver.