AN URGENT call to restore almost £80 million of ‘lost’ state-school funding in the county will form part of a letter to the government from the city council.

Worcester City Council agreed to contact Education Secretary Gavin Williamson asking him to “urgently restore” the £79.8 million in education funding which the county has lost out on since 2015.

The plea came after Councillor Marc Bayliss, leader of the city council, put forward a motion calling for councillors to reiterate their support of the continuation of the current system of public, private and voluntary schools in Worcestershire.

Cllr Lynn Denham, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Worcester, said she would not vote to abolish private schools if she was elected MP.

She said: “Private schools have a place, very definitely, in the cultural, business and education life of Worcester.

“As Worcester MP, I would not vote for their closure.

"The position, and what is discussed at Labour Party conference, may or may not become part of the manifesto in due course.

Cllr Denham said: "If we are going to write to the Secretary of State I think it is important that we write on behalf of all citizens and not just the seven per cent that benefit from private schools."

Cllr Bayliss said he wanted to defend a parent’s right to choose a school for their children, a right he felt would be put under threat by a Labour government after the party voted to abolish private schools.

He said parents across the city had decided they wanted to use their money in funding a different education for their children and any “decent” society allowed them to do so.

Cllr Bayliss said: “For the first time, in at least two generations, that understanding of the rights of parents to choose is now at risk.”

Labour delegates endorsed radical plans that would abolish private schools by removing their charitable status and integrating them into the state sector at its annual conference in September.

Cllr Tom Collins said the current crisis from "cut after cut" in state schools was being ignored and children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) were being "horribly failed" as basic support was not even being offered to many.