THE head teachers of Christchurch's three secondary schools have joined forces to voice their "serious concerns" about school funding.

They highlight "misleading information" from the government and urge parents to back them by getting involved in a national day of parental action tomorrow (Friday October 18).

Patrick Earnshaw, head of Highcliffe School, has spoken out along with Twynham head Jy Taylor and the joint Heads of School at The Grange, Liz Garman and Pete Nealon.

In a letter to parents and carers they stressed that funding for schools in Christchurch is among the lowest in the country and said the government's claim that spending on schools is higher than comparable countries is misleading.

They said: "The Department for Education tries to include spending made by families on university tuition fees, loans to students and private school fees.

"This adds billions of pounds to headline data but has absolutely no effect on funding received by schools. It is a completely unacceptable way of defending real term cuts."

They said Christchurch secondary schools have received some of the worst per pupil funding for decades and will continue to do so under the National Funding Formula which comes into effect next year.

And they called for an apology.

The letter went on: "The Department for Education must now work hard to rebuild trust and credibility. We hope that ministers will apologise unreservedly and put all their efforts into investing adequately into school funding and supporting much improved recruitment and retention of teachers."

The letter said schools in neighbouring Hampshire and Bournemouth "have funding levels barely any higher."

In conclusion they thanked parents and carers for their support and said their campaign for better funding "will remain reasonable and determined with a single goal of ensuring that every school and pupil receive a much better deal in the near future."

They are among many head teachers who have spoken out about their concerns over funding.

Kate Carter, CEO of The Educational Alliance of Canford Heath (TEACH) and the heads of the alliance's schools all took part in a march in London.

She said school funding is "heartbreaking" and said it is limiting the education offered to children. She said something must be done to address the "desperate situation."

Phil Jones, head of Ferndown Upper, said he has been forced to cut teaching staff, reduce subject choices and create bigger classes.

"I don't know how I can continue to make cuts" he said. "I am already relying on the goodwill of people who are putting in 70-80 hours a week to get things done."