SPENDING per secondary pupil is £1140 a year lower than when the SNP came to power, according to new figures from Holyrood’s independent information centre.

Seizing on the numbers at First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale told Nicola Sturgeon: “The real problem in our education system is our schools are skint.”

The figures from parliament researchers showed school spending had dropped by a total of £1.23billion between 2010/11 and 2016/17 adjusting for inflation.

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Although the data said funding for primary pupils stayed constant at £4826 per head, real terms funding per secondary pupil fell 14.2 per cent from £8,033 to £6,892.

Ms Dugdale told the First Minister: “Her own government's figures show this year's spending on education is going down again in real terms.

"I'll tell her just how real it is. The SNP has cut spending by hundreds of pounds of every single pupil and it has cut spending on each secondary school pupil by over £1,000.

“It is not Tory reforms that our schools need. It is cold, hard cash. Why can the First Minister not see that the real problem in our education system is that our schools are skint?”

She said "teacher numbers are down, support staff numbers are down, class sizes are going up", adding: "This week teachers are going on their summer break, isn't it the case that what they really need is a break from this Government?"

Ms Sturgeon said overall spending was up in real terms, and cited figures showing councils intended to spend £144m more this year than, a real terms increase of 1.3 per cent.

However the First Minister said the £144m included £120m to close the attainment gap between students from rich and poor households.

Labour pointed out the £120m was supposed to be “additional” and without it education spending suffered a real terms cut.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This Government is taking tough action to reform our education system, to get more powers into the hands of headteachers and teachers and, crucially, to get more resources into their hands.”

Ms Sturgeon also singled out Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council, noting it had frozen council tax then cut classroom assistants.

She said: “This Government will continue to invest in education, reform education and deliver the changes that our education system needs.

"We will do that in spite of Labour councils across the country, not because of them."

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson demanded Ms Sturgeon apologise for failing to clarify the previous week, despite being asked three times, that the government had asked Europe for an extension to make EU farm subsidy payments.

Long-running problems with a £178 million SNP Government IT system means only 82 per cent of payments had been made by Thursday morning, with Friday midnight the deadline.

Ministers are likely to be fined for the second year in a row for missing a 95 per cent target.

Ms Davidson said Ms Sturgeon’s failure to tell the full truth showed her “first response to failure is to try to hide it”.

The First Minister insisted she had been open about discussing contingency measures with the European Commission.

She said Ms Davidson owed people an apology for allowing her new MPs to “sit back” while Scotland missed out on extra funding on the back of the £1bn Tory deal with the DUP.

She also attacked Scottish Secretary David Mundell, saying it was obvious that he “did not lift a finger” to get more money.

“Shame on the Scottish Conservatives and shame on the Secretary of State for Scotland.”

Later, in response to a plea from Green MSP Patrick Harvie to consider using Holyrood’s new welfare powers to top up child benefit, she said: “The door is not closed to anything.”