The cuts imposed on our school budgets by the current Conservative government are making it impossible for our overworked teachers to deliver the first class education our young people deserve.

As the educational pressure group School Cuts research has shown, £2.8 billion has been cut from school budgets since 2015, despite frequent government claims to the contrary.

Trying to cope with this level of reduction recently lead 7,000 headteachers in England to write to 3.5 million parents to explain that though their children’s schools were facing a funding crisis, the education secretary had refused to meet them.

The consequences of this government’s education policy are deeply worrying. Stories of headteachers cleaning loos and mopping classroom floors; schools starting late or closing early, teachers and students forced to sit in their coats to keep warm and teachers having to spend their own money to buy books and food for their pupils abound.

It is now shockingly commonplace for schools to go begging to parents for funds for pens and paper, what the loftily out of touch Tory Chancellor Phillip Hammond referred to as those "little extras".

Austerity, the policy of punitive year-on-year reductions in public sector spending, is driving our schools over a financial cliff edge.

It is a scandal that this government has forced our vital public services to pick up the tab for the £600 billion bail out of private sector banks in the wake of the 2008 crash and global recession.

Our children are collectively paying for a crisis brought on by a fat cat culture of corporate greed.

While education is costly, ignorance will extract a much higher price socially as well as financially.

This is why on Sunday, April 28 I will be marching through Colchester alongside the People’s Assembly and all those who want an end to austerity cuts, and the failing Tory policies which are breaking our education system, our young peoples’ hope and Britain’s future.

Dr Tony O'Sullivan

Colchester People's Assembly