EXTRA government cash provided for Somerset schools must be spent where it is most needed - in the classroom, according to a Somerset MP.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, conservative MP for West Somerset and Bridgwater, says he will be keeping a close eye on how Somerset County Council uses its £4.7 million windfall.

Schools minister David Laws, announced an additional £390 million allocation to boost school budgets in areas that previously received low funding.

Leader of the county council, John Osman said he was delighted with the education boost.

He added: “This is fantastic news for pupils in Somerset.

“For years, we have got an unfair deal from government and lobbied for the funding formula to change. 

“This extra funding is a step in the right direction and will help schools secure resources and maintain education standards.

“After years of a growing funding gap in schools and early years provision, the extra funding will fill the hole in the budget and help avoid damaging cuts to the education in the county.”

However, head teachers are already warning that increasing costs mean many schools are unlikely to be better off.

Somerset's £4.7 million converts to a funding increase of up to £73 per pupil.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “The government has listened very carefully to what education authorities were saying about funding, and it has responded in what I believe is a very generous way to the genuine needs that were demonstrated.

“At the same time, this is all about improving the deal for children and young people who are the users of the service.

“It is not about shoring up some of the tottering bureaucratic empires which education departments have become. 

“I expect to see this money going directly into better pupil provision, not being siphoned off into administration budgets before it has even left county hall.”

Somerset County Council has said it will decide where is best to spend the extra cash with the expectation being that most of the money will go to schools, academies, nurseries and pre-schools.