One third of state schools are in deficit, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed - including 48 in Tower Hamlets.
Figures provided in response to a written parliamentary question show that over 9,438 schools were in deficit in 2015-16, over a third of the total.
Almost 4,000 schools have been in deficit in each of the last two years, while almost 1,600 have been in deficit three years in a row. 48 schools in Tower Hamlets are currently in deficit.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran, who tabled the question, commented:
"It is shocking to see thousands of schools across the country reporting budget deficits year after year.
"Perhaps more shocking still is the fact the minister has played down the issue by claiming these deficits are not a cause for concern.
"We know parents are being asked to contribute to school funds out of their own pockets, that schools are considering closing early and that subjects are being dropped from the curriculum.”
Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse, Elaine Bagshaw commented:
“It’s unbelievable that this Tory Government think it’s ok to leave schools without enough money and to get parents to foot the bill instead. Children and young people deserve the best start in life, particularly in an area like Tower Hamlets where nearly half of our children grow up in poverty.
"The government must urgently address these funding pressures that are impacting on children's education and leaving schools struggling to make ends meet."