WHOEVER wins the race to become the new Tory leader, and therefore our new Prime Minister – the starting line is becoming so crowded it resembles the opening stages of the Grand National – the last thing the education sector needs from them is yet more sweeping reforms.

While for obvious reasons, Brexit policy will dominate the agenda, there are others areas crying out for attention, and in today’s edition we yet again highlight the financial plight of our schools.

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman has published the results of a survey she carried out of the borough’s headteachers. Her findings are a familiar tale of financial pressures and staffing cuts. Critics will say the survey is party political, and of course it suits a Labour MP to be able to level accusations of mismanagement at the government.

However the survey results are entirely in keeping with investigations carried out by The Northern Echo in recent months focusing on the budgetary pressures of our schools.

Every time the Department for Education is contacted for response we receive a version of the same anodyne statement professing that schools funding has increased.

The Conservative leadership candidates vary from grammar school advocates to passionate backers of even more academisation. This is no time to be pitching for another overhaul of a stretched system though.

What is needed is firstly an acceptance that the problem is real, and then a promise to cough up the cash to fix it.