PARENTS fear a funding crisis could hit Oxfordshire schools harder than first thought.

Campaign group School Cuts has refreshed its calculations of real-terms funding losses in the county, and now claims our schools combined are £37.3m worse off than they were five years ago.

Parents in Abingdon have unveiled a new banner outside Carswell Community Primary School, to highlight the pressures schools are under and rally support for more government money.

It was unfurled on Friday by Fair Funding for All Schools Oxfordshire, which is overseen by Helen Brockett.

The Abingdon mother, whose 10-year-old son attends Carswell, said: "Unfortunately the figure has changed quite dramatically.

"I think we are finally seeing the cuts really impacting."

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In May, Lord Williams's School in Thame launched a £85,000 parent donation drive, having already invited parents to set up regular payments.

In a leaflet promoting the campaign, which highlighted schools' funding struggles, it said 'even £10 per month' will benefit pupils.

Ms Brockett said: "Previously we were worried about how [funding] was going to impact schools, but now we are actually seeing the effects.

"For example at my son's school, every year they have a sponsored dance. Usually it's raising money for two charities, but this year it was for the school, to buy playground equipment."

The £37.3m figure was calculated by School Cuts, comparing how much 'real-term' funding schools received per pupil in 2018/19, to what they received in 2015/16.

Data is adjusted to account for inflation and rising costs.

School Cuts previously calculated that the county's schools were £10.1m worse off, and a banner stating this was put up outside Carswell.

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This was based on projected funding predictions, however, and has been recalculated based on what schools actually received.

The government says it is investing more money in education than ever, but headteachers claim this is still not enough to cover increases in staffing costs, inflation, pensions, National Insurance payments, and increasing needs of pupils.

The new banner was unfurled on Friday to coincide with a school funding protest in Westminster on Friday, organised after schools in Birmingham proposed closing early on Fridays to save money.

Ms Brockett said: "More schools might have to take action like that, which is really worrying.

"We don't want our schools to go to a four-and-a-half day week, they shouldn't have to suffer like that."

In Oxfordshire, Wheatley Park School in Holton is also considering finishing early on Fridays, citing 'enormous' budget pressures as the justification.

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Prime Minister Theresa May, a former pupil of the secondary school, was quizzed about the school's proposal in the House of Commons last week.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said: "When her own former school is planning to move to part-time education, does she not agree that she must secure, before she leaves office, additional funding outside the spending review?"

Mrs May replied: "We've already been putting extra money into schools, we recognise the pressures there have been on schools and we are ensuring that the schools are funded."

Oxford West and Abingdon's Lib Dem MP Layla Moran said: "Vince is absolutely right to highlight what is a crisis in this country.

"Schools are going part-time due to real-terms cuts, and using Amazon wish lists just for basic supplies."

The Department for Education has previously said that the School Cuts figures are 'misleading,' and that funding is at its 'highest ever level.'