A BRADFORD MP has exchanged letters with a senior cabinet minister over his claims about education in the district - and has invited him to meet with her to discuss the issues and concerns.

Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, responded to Education Secretary Damian Hinds, after he called on her to support New College Bradford, which he mistakenly thought was a new free school in her constituency.

Ms Shah points out in her letter that New College Bradford is a Sixth Form College, not a school, and is in the neighbouring Bradford East constituency.

She also hits back at Mr Hinds' claims that free schools "empower communities and parents" and "suit local need", when the trust responsible for running the college will be based twenty-five miles away in Pontefract.

Mr Hinds said he was writing to the Bradford West MP in a bid to get her support for New College Bradford after Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, pledged to scrap free schools at this year's Labour Party Conference.

However, Ms Shah said the Education Secretary was making "a series of untrue claims".

She added: "Labour's plans will redress the balance and bring back local accountability, empowering local authorities rather than Whitehall to create school places we need.

"Our new generation of co-operative schools will give parents and teachers - not politicians and profiteers - genuine power over how schools are run."

Ms Shah says the opposition party's plans will "correct the financial ruin your government's school budget cuts have left in my area."

She said 19 schools are in deficit with 49 more likely to be by 2020, 172 out of 174 schools face funding cuts and Bradford faces a £298 cut per pupil.

She added: "In practice, these numbers mean staff losing their jobs or struggling to make ends meet while they spend their own money buying books and pens.

"Rather than make spurious claims about Labour policy, I would welcome a grown-up discussion with you about the issues our children face and the crisis in education, both in Bradford and beyond.

"If you are genuinely committed to helping our children flourish, I would be happy to invite you to my constituency so you can meet local parents, teachers and children, discuss their concerns and demonstrate what your government is willing to do to help."