An “error” by government officials means schools in Bolton will get more than £2million less funding than anticipated over the next year.

Across England, a recent mistake admitted by the Department for Education has meant that primary and secondary schools will be allocated around £50 less per pupil than originally forecast.

Bolton Council’s Schools Forum heard how the mistake means schools across the borough will receive a total of around £2.629million less than initially announced, while opposition politicians warn this could have a damaging impact on an education system already hit by cuts.

Phil Brickell, Labour candidate for Bolton West, said: “With many hours of face-to-face teaching lost during the pandemic, it’s vital that government invests in our children’s education.

“After 13 years of Conservative government, parents and teachers will rightly be worried by further cuts to school budgets in Bolton.”

The Bolton News: Nick Gibb MP, who resigned as Education Minister this week, said the error was unfortunateNick Gibb MP, who resigned as Education Minister this week, said the error was unfortunate (Image: Victoria Jones/PA)

This was echoed by Mr Brickell's Labour colleague in Bolton North East, Kirith Entwistle.

She said: "This is an alarming display of negligence that our schools simply can't afford.

"Our children's education should be a top priority, not an afterthought.

"The Conservative government's chronic mismanagement of school budgets is crippling our education system, and the people of Bolton deserve better."

Bolton Schools Forum heard at a meeting on Friday, November 10 how the Department for Education had first published its funding allocation for schools for 2024-25 in July this year, with the Forum informed of any key changes, as usual.

But the revised allocations, with more than £2m less than first forecast for schools in Bolton, were then published only in October after the error, which only effects mainstream schools, was discovered.

The mistake appears to have been made after officials at the Department for Education underestimated pupil numbers across the country when processing the National Funding Formula.

Earlier in October, Department for Education permanent secretary Susan Acland-Hood, admitted this error, which means the overall cost of the core schools budget will be 0.62 per cent greater than allocated in 2024-25.

But the government has stressed that the total funding for schools across England will still remain at £59.6bn for the same year.

Education Minister Nick Gibb MP, who resigned this week, said: “No money has been taken out of the school budget.

“It’s £59.6billion next year, and it will remain at £59.6billion.

“What would be irresponsible would be to increase funding for schools by the 0.62 per cent solely as a result of an error by officials.

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“That is not how government spending systems work.”

Recalling being told about the error, he added: “It was unfortunate.

“And when you are a minister and officials gather outside your office to tell you this great news about the error that’s been made, my instinct is always find out what the error is, rectify it as quickly as possible.

“And that took about four weeks compared to the normal six weeks in calculating the NFF and then publishing those figures as rapidly as possible.

“That’s been the approach that I have taken and which the department has taken.”