SPENDING in Inverclyde's secondary schools has fallen by £4 million - and there are now fewer teachers in local classrooms.

New figures uncovered by the Greenock Telegraph show that eight years ago the local authority was spending £27.8 million per year in high schools.

But last year the total budget across the area's six secondary schools was around £23 million - a drop of 14 per cent.

There are also nearly 40 fewer teachers in the secondaries comparing the same periods.

Council leader Stephen McCabe said: "We have protected education to a large degree, but the reality is when the council has faced funding cuts year on year, education is not immune.

"Education can't be 100 per cent protected or other services and budgets would be decimated.

"I think if you were to look at figures in full and the overall picture, education has largely been keep at the same level when compared with other services.

"The council has faced cuts of £50m in the last ten years.

"I think that Inverclyde punches about its weight in terms of education, but you can never be complacent. We have to look at all educational needs."

The Freedom of Information request by the Telegraph shows that in 2010/11, £27.8m was spent in secondary schools.

This fell by £2m in 2011/12 and then continued to decrease year on year.

This year, the budgets for spending on educating high school pupils stood at £23.8m.

Back in 2010 there were 392 secondary school teachers in Inverclyde, but that figure now stands at 355.

In local primaries, Inverclyde Council spent £22.7m in 2010/11 and this has now dropped to £21.5 million.

In the year 2012/13, the budget for primary schools dropped to £19.6 million but in recent years it has been increased.

The number of primary school teachers has remained roughly the same.

Inverclyde Council has spent more on education for those with additional support needs.

In 2010/11 the budget was £2.9 and that has now increased to £3.3 million, with more teachers employed.

Three years ago the Scottish Government introduced the Scottish Attainment Gap to tackle inequalities in education.

A number of schools in Inverclyde received funding as a result. Inverclyde has also benefited from the pupil equity fund.

Councillor McCabe added: "I am not a fan of ring-fencing. The attainment challenge has been beneficial, but you are taking money from elsewhere."

Inverclyde Council has also spent millions of pounds on building and refurbishing schools as part of its ambitious modernisation programme.

Secondary school pupils also recently recorded another year of record exam success.

The drop in spending in secondary schools is reflected across the country.