THOUSANDS of parents will discover today the true extent of the funding crisis facing schools across the region, as a teachers' union warns budgets are at "breaking point".

Headteachers from almost 200 schools across North Yorkshire are writing to parents to warn them about the lack of funding and the difficult and "heart-breaking" choices they are having to make as a consequence.

It comes as figures show all local authority areas across the region are facing a real terms cut to their budgets by 2020, with schools in Darlington losing £3.1m, County Durham £8.2m and North Yorkshire £5.3m.

The Northern Echo:

School leaders’ union NAHT say the "devastating" results of the funding cuts are affecting quality of education, teachers and staff, school buildings, resources, and leaders’ mental health.

The letter, which is expected to reach about 60,000 parents, also encourage parents to sign a petition asking the government for increased school funding, which has reached over 100,000 signatures already, and has forced a debate in Parliament which takes place today.

It states: “As a school, we feel that it is our duty to provide parents with a fair and accurate picture of the real state of school funding in our area.

"All state schools in England are funded by a central government grant that is administered by the Department for Education (DfE). According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), school funding per pupil has fallen eight per cent in real terms since 2010.

“Schools are having to make difficult choices on how to spend their limited funding as their income has not kept pace with the rise in costs since 2010. All schools are working very hard to make ends meet but this is becoming increasingly difficult and verging on almost impossible.

"Bank of England information shows that £100 of goods in 2010 cost £121.90 in 2017, which is approximately a 20 per cent increase, and school funding has not kept up with the increase in costs.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, said: “School budgets are at breaking point. The devastating effects of the funding crisis are clear, taking a toll on the quality of children’s education, on teachers and staff, on school buildings and resources, and on leaders’ mental health as they struggle to balance the books.

“Many school leaders are having to make heart-breaking decisions, forced into making damaging cuts to staff and resources.

“An NAHT survey showed that only eight per cent of school leaders do not foresee a year where they would have an untenable deficit, and almost two thirds have already had to make reductions that have negatively impacted on the performance of their school.”

Cllr Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire County Council's executive member for schools said: “We welcome the debate in parliament as we have long called on the Government to recognise that there is insufficient funding in North Yorkshire for schools funding and special educational needs and disabilities funding.

“School reserves are reducing and this reflects the reality of pressure on public sector funding. Moreover, the disparity between higher funded areas of the country compared with North Yorkshire continues (the claim that the national funding formula delivers funding equally across the country is not accurate) so that our schools face very tough challenges indeed.”

The Department for Education said they had put an additional £1.3bn into core schools funding, giving every local authority more money for every pupil in every school.