Schools across Brighton took part in a national campaign yesterday to fight for more funding from the Government.

A demonstration set up by the parentled organisation Save Our Schools (SOS), took place at Brighton Palace Pier and was joined by Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

Teachers, parents and pupils held signs and banners outside their schools and at the pier to show how funding cuts have forced headteachers to slash teaching staff numbers, work hours and even building developments.

Hildi Mitchell, headteacher of Downs Infant School, in Ditchling Road, Brighton, said: “There are schools that are forced to make decisions to cut staff numbers.

“Teachers have a huge responsibility, we are responsible for children’s learning and safety. We don’t want to be in a position where these are compromised.

“We are very grateful to have the support of parents and children.

“Regarding the teaching union’s demand for a five per cent pay rise, I haven’t heard if there will be a strike by teachers. It isn’t just about pay, it’s about the duties we have for our pupils.

“Luckily we have an active PTA which has helped us fund extra-curricular activities for pupils, such as inviting dance troupes and musicians to perform for students.

“However, these things should be covered in the Government funding.”

In a survey conducted by the Brighton and Hove branch of SOS, 50 schools responded and 66 per cent said they have cut teaching assistants.

Eight two per cent said they have slashed extra-curricular activities such as music, theatre and sports, while 40 per cent have lost inclusion or special needs staff.

Parent Gemma Haley, 44, whose seven-year-old attends Westdene Primary School in Bankside, Brighton said: “We have joined schools in West and East Midlands, West Sussex, Isle of Wight to raise our voices.

“We’re asking the Government to fund us properly. The fact that we had to stand in the seafront and ask for more funding is a sad state of affairs.

“My son is on the special educational needs register at his school and he has received amazing support from the teaching assistant staff members. 

“All schools are affected, I heard on school in Portslade had to ask parents to help them fix its roof because it couldn’t afford to hire someone. This just shows how desperate some schools are.”

A National Audit Office report, which was published in 2016, revealed schools across the UK will face cuts of £3 billion from 2016 to 2020.

Member of the SOS Catherine Fisher said: “What we want to do with this campaign is to stand alongside with teachers and headteachers because they have been doing it on their own.

“Schools are really struggling, they are doing to make everything all right and we are rallying with them so our voices are stronger.

“I have heard schools relying on volunteers to help them with things like maintenance work, but to operate in an extreme fashion like that is not a long term solution.

“There are also inequalities because some schools are more vulnerable than others and they would be the first ones to be affected.

“I have a seven-year-old who goes to St Luke’s and my three-year-old will be starting there in September. I don’t even know what’s going to happen to schools in the next few years.”

Sue Beatty, branch secretary of Unison in Brighton, said: “People working in the public service chose to work there because they want to give something back. I heard about the teaching union pushing for a five per cent pay rise. Although I’m not sure whether there’s going to be a strike, but many schools are struggling and there will come a point where strikes could happen.”