Funding cuts to colleges and schools in Croydon risk jeopardising progress made in tackling knife crime, MPs have warned.

Last week shadow education secretary Angela Rayner MP and local MP Sarah Jones met staff and pupils at South Norwood Academy and Croydon College, before taking part in a roundtable discussion on the role of education in tackling youth violence.

Both warned that government cuts to education were harming efforts to tackle knife crime in the borough by reducing opportunities for young people to spend time in productive, safe environments.

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, said: “It was fantastic to visit Croydon and meet some inspiring pupils, teachers and campaigners.

"Schools and colleges are spaces where our young people can develop, take part in activities and spend time with friends in a safe, positive environment.

“But years of cuts to education budgets undermines the hard work being done in boroughs like Croydon to tackle serious problems like knife crime.

"The next Labour government will end cuts to school budgets, giving our schools the resources they need and increasing per pupil funding to a record high.”

Police data suggests stabbings in Croydon are starting to reduce, with a 7% drop in the last year.

Figures show that schools in Croydon saw cuts of over £44m between 2015 and 2019, equating to over £300 per pupil, with 97 of the borough’s 99 schools dealing with a drop in funding.

Croydon also faces a funding crisis in further education, with the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) reporting that 16-18 year olds in colleges and sixth forms seeing “the biggest squeeze of all stages of education.”

Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central, said: “Our schools are on the front line of the youth violence epidemic.

"Angela is right, if we continue to cut our young people’s education it will completely undermine all the work which has gone into preventing them from carrying knives or getting into trouble.

“I’m so proud of the work Croydon’s schools and colleges are doing despite the cuts they’ve experienced – and I was pleased to welcome Angela to our town.”