Earlier this week, hundreds of people gathered in Glasgow to ‘March for Education’ and demand an end to education cuts in the city.

Supported by three teaching unions, as well as the GMB and UNISON, this was a protest organised and led by the Glasgow City Parents Group.

This volunteer umbrella organisation represents many parent councils across Glasgow, and over the past year has become one of, if not the, most prominent opponents of the council’s plans to balance its tattered books by, in part, hacking away at education services.

The most significant cut is the planned loss of around 8% of teaching posts in schools, which will mean a total of 450 dedicated professionals no longer working with children and young people in Scotland’s toughest city. In the first year alone, 172 posts are being removed and up to 45 primary schools face having only the headteacher not in class. This has prompted huge concerns about pupil safety, as well as things like parental engagement, teacher workload, and the provision of support to pupils with additional support needs.

A major cut is also to be imposed on MCR Pathways, a celebrated scheme that offers weekly mentoring to around 2,000 of the city’s most vulnerable and at risk youngsters. Councillors say they can apply these cuts without impacting on the teenagers supported by the programme, but have provided precisely zero evidence to back that obviously extraordinary claim. What’s more, they’ve had to admit that they voted for this without a full equality impact assessment being carried out, meaning that they can’t possibly know what the full impact will be.

And these policies haven’t just appeared for the coming years. The council has already shut down the School Library Outreach service, which allowed schools to borrow from a huge range of much-loved resources free of charge, and was used by two-thirds of primary schools. The hugely successful Advanced Higher Hub, which encouraged pupils from deprived backgrounds to study advanced qualifications, and gave them the chance to do so in a university setting, has also been scrapped.

As a result, parents across the city are worried about what is to come in the next school year and beyond, and the Glasgow City Parents Group representatives say that they are receiving more and more messages from those concerned about the future.

In the east end, one mother is hugely concerned after her child’s school announced that they will be unable to provide English as an Additional Language (EAL) support, afterschool clubs, P7 residential trip, and playground supervision, and that their nurture model will be removed. Her daughter “has not had a regular school experience so far”, and she is worried about how transitions will be supported as the cuts progress. Her whole experience of education has been disrupted, and now the threat of further, ongoing cuts is creating huge anxiety.

She is also concerned that her older child, who is already in high school, will not have careers advice and pastoral support, and that the support she requires to help her cope with a long-term health issue will disappear.

At the other end of the city, the parents of an autistic five-year-old fear that the coming cuts will damage his education and even reduce their income. Like so many pupils with significant additional needs, their son attends a mainstream school, but they have already found it extremely difficult to secure appropriate levels of support for him. They say they have been told “on numerous occasions” that the school doesn’t have the resources required.

As both parents work, they have made use of the school’s breakfast club, but a lack of support staff now means that they have been told that he can no longer attend. As a result, they face the prospect of one of them having to give up work.

A parent in southside says that their son, who attends a mainstream primary school, is at risk because “the cuts will remove the supports that allow him to continue to access education,” and are angry at the prospect of him being “pushed into the margins by ill-considered budgets.”

The stories repeat again and again: support staff cuts leaving vulnerable pupils with no support; class sizes increasing; excellent, dedicated staff being lost; all sorts of resources dwindling; and teachers and schools being increasingly frank with parents about what they should expect.

Every single cut prompts specific concerns about particular impacts on individual children, families, classrooms and schools, but as the picture has gradually become clearer, a more general – but no less damaging – fear has also developed amongst some parents. They’re not only worried about the specifics – they’re worried that the clear direction of travel leads us inexorably towards a destination in which their children’s whole lives have been negatively impacted, all so that a few politicians of questionable quality can achieve their short-term, and short-sighted, goals.

And those fears are not limited to Glasgow: in North Lanarkshire, cuts to school transport provision have left parents worried about the safety of their children; in Falkirk, the council has proposed changes to school hours that would reduce the amount of education children receive.

Leanne McGuire, chair of GCPG, says that parents as “worried about the unknown”, because no matter how bad things seems so far, the consensus is that this is just the beginning.

“Parents are worried about losing the vital support they fought tirelessly to secure for their children," she said. "They fear that excessive workloads will limit their access to headteachers and class teachers, diminishing the quality of education and personalised attention each child receives.

“There is anxiety about the reduction of small group work, crucial for improving learning outcomes, and the potential loss of enriching experiences such as school trips and events that bring joy and engagement to our schools.

But, she adds, the “broader fear” is that schools are increasingly transformed into “stressful environments where learning and experiences are restricted due to budget saving decisions.”

A spokeswoman for the council told The Herald that they will do everything they can “to minimise any impact to schools but in the current financial climate the council must look at every option.”

“Officers are looking at several savings as part of a budget that required £108m of savings from council services over the next three years, not including social care.

“We know that this will be a worrying time for everyone - for many years education spending has been prioritised, relative to other services, in the budget process.

“However, with the education budget now amounting to more than half of service expenditure directed by the council, it is significantly more challenging to protect education when substantial savings are needed."