OUR schools are in crisis and our children need you.

That is the call being made by head teachers, teachers, support staff and governors as funding has reached what they describe as “dire” levels.

Today the Daily Gazette is backing their fight for a commitment of at least 15 per cent more funding per school from the Government when its spending review takes place this autumn.

That’s the equivalent of £218,00 per school, with some needing as much as £500,000.

And we need you to join us and get behind them too.

The north east Essex Funding for Schools campaign seeks to restore standards so our schoolchildren can learn in a comfortable environment with the support they need.

Right now the sums don’t add up to make that happen.

In the past four years £134 million has been cut from Essex schools alone in real terms, taking in account inflation, pension commitments and rising staffing costs.

Among the worst hit in Colchester is The Gilberd School, which has seen real term funding slashed by £1.5 million since 2015, while St Helena School has lost £1.2 million, Monkwick Junior School £418,000 and Unity Primary School £631,054.

Adele Jennings, a parent governor who is co-ordinating the Funding For Schools campaign with our support, said: “There is simply not enough money in the area to run our schools in a way that fully empowers teachers and nurtures children in our community. We have to get the message to Westminster. This is our children, grandchildren and our future.”

Head teachers in north Essex say their school buildings are becoming dilapidated, dated equipment is not being replaced and three quarters have made staff redundant or will do so in the next financial year.

A survey by Funding For Schools has also revealed 39 per cent of schools said they are putting off work around their site buildings as they don’t have the money,

A staggering 88 per cent of school staff have used their own money to buy basic classroom equipment.

And 65 per cent of teachers said they do not have enough resources to cope with the emotional needs of some children in their class.

READ MORE: Head teachers back our rallying call as fears over future finances loom

While the Department for Education insists it’s pumped more money into schools than ever before, schools are saying this is not enough as cost pressures have increased.

A Government spokesman said: “This year, under the national funding formula, funding for schools in Essex has increased by 3.3 per cent per pupil, compared to 2017-18.

“This is equivalent to an extra £48.7 million in total, when rising pupil numbers are taken into account.

“While there is more money going into our schools than ever before, we know schools face budgeting challenges, which is why we have introduced a wide range of support to help schools reduce costs and get the best value from their resources from a free-to-use vacancy service to cut the costs of recruiting teachers, to advisors who are providing expert help and support to individual schools that need it.

“The Secretary of State has made clear as we approach the next spending review, he will back head teachers to have the resources they need to deliver a world class education in the years ahead.”

n To sign the online petition to lobby Education Secretary Damian Hinds, go to https://bit.ly/2Y4XUoR

Gazette: Support - Alan Garnett, head teacher of North Primary School, with chair of governors, Jan BlackwellSupport - Alan Garnett, head teacher of North Primary School, with chair of governors, Jan Blackwell

How else you can help

WE need you to help us spread the word.

As well as signing the petition on our website, we want to hear from more schools and parents to help us deliver the message about how vital substantial school funding is.

For example, many schools say they have no option but to make learning support assistants redundant.

On Wednesday campaigners from Funding for Schools will lobby outside Colchester Town Hall ahead of the full council meeting at 6pm.

They would like supporters to bring placards and banners to wave.

Councillors are set to debate a motion which would see Colchester Council present the “dire facts” of funding cuts to schools across the borough to the Government and call for more funding in education.

It also calls for the council to support schools’ trade unions.

Contact the newsroom on 01206 508415, email gazette.newsdesk.co.uk or find us on Facebook.