PARENTS joined forces with teachers to protest in the town centre against cuts that will affect schools across Swindon.

Data released by the School Cuts campaign shows that 83 per cent of schools will be left worse off under current funding arrangements – including more than 50 schools in Swindon, which face a funding shortfall of £6.3 million, or £200 per pupil in 2020.

Debbie Brown, the National Education Union’s division secretary, with a group of current and retired teachers and parents, gave out leaflets in Wharf Green to raise awareness.

She said: “We are so concerned about the issue with the cuts to school funding, locally as well as nationally. We are trying to raise awareness before Thursday elections.

“The school cuts campaign has looked at all the parties’ manifestos and has compared what their promises say and how it will affect education and it’s frightening in Swindon. In Swindon itself there’s going to be shortfall of £6.3m, so that’s 58 out of the 74 schools in the area affected.

“We’ve been trying for a few years to raise awareness with the local MPs and nationally as well.”

The group is not attached to a political party and says it is only fighting for adequate funding.

Ms Brown added: “This is our future, and if we don’t put the money in education, it’s going to have a devastating effect on the country.”

“We are not attached to a party, what we are fighting for is adequate funding for our children, this are our future and if we don’t put the money in that going forward it’s going to have a devastating effect on the country.

“My son is 29 and when he was at primary school, things were different, there was more money for resources, for TAs. Over the last nine years, things have got worse and worse.

“Special education needs children, the funding isn’t there to support them.

“In the school I teach at, we just had a seven-year-old child who’s had funding turned down, now this child desperately needs that money. She cannot learn in a mainstream school without a TA by her side. The budget’s cut to the bone.”

“We just hope people will make the right decision for what is best for education and that’s why we are out there giving leaflets telling people about the school cuts website.”

Becky Poole, from Old Town, has a 15-year-old son, James who was diagnosed with ADHD and requires special education needs.

She said: “My son is 15 and goes to a special need school in Swindon and he has been greatly affected by cuts in Swindon particular to the higher needs funding budget.

“There’s a big proportion of children who need extra help and support but the cut of money doesn’t reflect these extra children.

“The cuts are affecting our children and the school are doing the best they can, however what is going in some of them, is that they are using newly qualified teachers as opposed to experienced teachers because it will be cheaper for them to have. “

Several politicians have signed the NEU pledge to end the crisis in school funding.

Labour candidate for South Swindon Sarah Church said: “Investment in our children’s education is probably the best investment we make. I believe that all our children deserve the best chances in life and that’s why fairer and better funding for our schools must be a priority at this election. “

Andy Bentley, Green Party candidate for North Swindon said; “As a parent, I recognise the importance of properly funded education and the terrible impact that a decade of sustained cuts to education funding has had.”