IN A SIGN of solidarity against school funding cuts, teachers from across Taunton gathered to protest as they struggle to balance their budgets.

Headteachers, teachers, staff members and governors meet at Somerset County Council's headquarters to take a stand against funding cuts which are leaving them in a deficit.

Headteacher of Trull Primary School, Karen Wedlake, spearheaded the call-to-action to bring fellow educators together to campaign for change on Thursday afternoon (March 21).

She said: "I want to say a huge thank you to all of you for coming out.

"It's a sad state of affairs that we have to be here due to all the cuts.

"I do appreciate you giving up your time, it shows how important this all is to every single person.

"It's our children, your children, who are going to suffer as a result of the cuts.

"All their needs, we have to make shortfalls and balance the budgets as best we can."

Ms Wedlake said schools in the region are struggling to balance their budgets, and now 'deficits are in place'.

She added: "I appreciate you being here to take a united front, to show that we really do need someone to take notice of all the cuts we are facing.

"We are told all the time that the most money ever has been put into education but that is not the case.

"There are more children now, Somerset itself has been deprived compared to the rest of the country, so we really do need to stand together and fight to get our voices heard."

Ms Wedlake gathered her colleagues at County Hall, where several school leaders spoke of their experiences of running cash-strapped schools.

Steve Gillan, headteacher of Thurlbear Primary School, said people are being asked to go the 'extra mile', but the road is coming to an end.

He said: "We know our schools are the glue that bind our community together. At the moment it feels like we are being held together by Blu-tack, not glue. We all know what Blu-tack does, if it gets cold, it snaps.

"We are getting stretched and stretched and stretched.

"We are building our schools, sometimes, on the good nature of the people running them. We are asking people to go the extra mile but we are running out of mileage, we need help.

"This is not political, this is human. "We are taking about children. We are talking about lives. We are talking about education for the next generation of children.

"On the side of my school it says 'train up a child and away they should go', sometimes I don't know which way we are going.

"We are trying to make great children for the future, be in buildings like this [County Hall] and run our country.

"Let's try and help them now. Let's get a basis and a foundation to make them better.

"Let's all work together - not politics, I'm talking about human beings. I'm talking about our children."

The teachers were joined by local Liberal Democrat councillors, who have launched a petition to reverse the cuts.

SCC cabinet member for children and families, Frances Nicholson, and Faye Purbrick, cabinet member for education and council transformation, also turned out to show their support for the headteachers.