SECONDARY schools in Wyre Forest are "scraping the bottom of the barrel" to cope with funding cuts, with disadvantaged children bearing the brunt of tighter budgets.

Letters have been sent by head teachers across the district informing parents of increasing class sizes, restricted curriculums, and schools struggling to support their most vulnerable students.

As part of the national Worth Less? campaign, which saw more than 2,000 teachers march on Westminster in September, schools have written to the Secretary of State for Education on three occasions, but Bryn Thomas, head of Wolverley CE Secondary, says schools just aren't being listened to.

"The funding situation here is desperate going forwards," he said. "Basically there has been no real terms increase to funding while demands on schools continue to increase.

"Unfortunately the decisions we make about the curriculum we teach will be hindered by a lack of money.

"Class sizes are increasing and vocational subjects like the arts are being squeezed and marginalised.

"Teachers buy their own stationary, buy their own ingredients and rewards for students - they're having to put their hands in their own pockets to make sure the school can operate.

"We are being given the same line over again - that the government is investing more money than ever in schools - but with inflation and all the extra things we're having to pay for it still leaves us in a worse financial position."

Lorna Deakin, head of Stourport High School, added: "We've pretty much cut everything we can - we can't take any more.

"Teachers go above and beyond every day on a very limited budget - they're volunteering their time before and after school and during lunchtimes to do the best jobs they can do. They're absolutely frazzled."

Matthew Carpenter, head of Baxter College, said schools are "at a tipping point".

"The rising costs of providing a high quality education places a significant challenge on school budgets," he said. "I feel we are at a tipping point in Worcestershire.

"The impact of stresses on our budgets will be significantly more evident if there is no increase in overall funding."

Mr Carpenter and Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier are set to meet with the Minister for Schools this month.

Mr Garnier said: "Per pupil funding in nominal terms is the highest its ever been but is down in real terms because of inflation.

"It's not quite as straight forward as it is being portrayed but we do need to confront the issue.

"We need to be doing as much as we can to get more money into Worcestershire as we are underfunded.

"The government has adjusted the formula which means we are getting more in Worcestershire than in some other parts of the country, but it's not something we're taking lightly."

Worcestershire County Council says it is working with local head teachers to represent a case for additional funding.