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£4bn rise in schools funding as Tories bid to allay backbench fears

A free school breakfast for every child through primary school, rather than free lunches for all.

Funding for schools will increase by £4 billion by 2022, the Conservatives have pledged as the party bids to ease backbench concerns.

Several Tory MPs in the last parliament feared their areas could lose out under measures to make the funding formula fairer, with Labour at one stage claiming the government was “robbing Peterborough to pay for Poole”.

Theresa May has now used her party’s 2017 General Election manifesto to promise “no school has its budget cut as a result of the new formula”.

It adds: “We will increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion by 2022, representing more than a real-terms increase for every year of the parliament.”

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Mrs May observes a physics experiment during a visit to King's College London mathematics school (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Tories hope to make savings by ending the policy of free school lunches for all children in their first three years of primary school.

A free school breakfast for every child through primary school will be offered instead, with money freed up by the change added to the core schools budget.

The manifesto says: “Every penny saved will go towards children’s education.”

Mrs May’s desire to create more grammar schools is also included, with a ban lifted subject to conditions including allowing pupils to join at other ages as well as 11.

A specialist maths school should be opened in every major city in England due to new funding arrangements, the manifesto adds, while every 11-year-old would be expected to know their times tables off by heart.

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