THE chairman of governors at an Abingdon secondary school has quit the Conservative Party over a new funding formula that could cost his school more than £200,000.

According to teaching unions there could be a £29m decrease in funding for Oxfordshire schools, based on the new formula, which the Government plans to introduce from 2018/19.

At a meeting on Friday at Larkmead School, about 100 parents gathered with the Oxfordshire branch of the Fair Funding For All Schools pressure group, featured last month in the Oxford Mail.

Iain Littlejohn, the school’s chairman of governors, revealed he quit the Conservative Party in February because of the likely effects of the funding formula.

According to calculations by campaigners, backed by the National Union of Teachers, Larkmead School could lose about £229,000 by 2019 - which would mean £334 less per pupil and seven fewer teachers.

The father-of-three, a former Abingdon town councillor, said: “The Conservative manifesto I supported in 2010 and 2015 talked about guaranteeing funding per pupil, and about the economy in a positive light.

“Post-Brexit, both of these areas have been significantly threatened.

“Shifting funding to grammar schools, and not protecting funding for each individual child, is the wrong decision and contrary to the manifesto.”

Mr Littlejohn has been a governor at the school for seven years and chairman of governors for the past two years.

His 13-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter are pupils at the school.

Mr Littlejohn added: “I haven’t joined another political party but I don’t feel it appropriate to continue with the Conservative Party - they have moved away from me.

“We will now have to draw up a plan to combat the effects of these proposals - other schools are facing the same issues, it’s not just Larkmead.”

Among the panel were Larkmead headteacher Chris Harris, county council leader Ian Hudspeth and former National Union of Teachers president Philippa Harvey.

Mr Harris said: “It’s tough and it means you have to talk about the options you have - classroom sizes could go up from 30 to 32.

“We appreciate the support we are getting from parents and would urge them to keep up the pressure.”

Helen Brockett, whose son Adam attends Carswell Community Primary School, said the funding cuts were ‘not acceptable’.

She added: “We need frank and honest discussions about what is happening in our schools.”

County council leader Ian Hudspeth told those attending the meeting he was not there ‘to justify the Government’s position’.

He added: “I am here to get the best deal for Oxfordshire schoolchildren.”