Yesterday, twelve schools from across the UK launched their campaigns online to win a £10, 000 design and colour transformation at The twelve schools, six primary and six secondary, have been selected from hundreds of entries in this year's Dulux's Smarter Spaces competition. 

Since joining Lucre this year I have been actively involved in the competition working with our client Dulux. It's been fantastic fun and personally ringing the twelve individual schools to tell them they had been shortlisted for the final six in their category was a complete joy. 

But reading this article from the Guardian highlighted an issue that I had become sadly very familiar with over the last few months - Our Schools are desperately lacking funding. Entry after entry described substandard environments in which our pupils are having to learn.

Learning environments have been proven to affect both pupils' achievement and behaviour yet each entry I read told sad stories of dilapidated classrooms, under used halls and uninspiring libraries. I couldn't believe how many schools needed their libraries rejuvenating. Libraries - literally the symbol of a studious education, the place where our children should be going to be inspired and learn are now apparently not fit for purpose. 

The longer headteachers are kept in the dark about budgets and funding the longer our children will have to write heartbreaking entries to win funding to improve their schools. If you don't believe me take a look at the final twelve entries for the Dulux Smarter Spaces competition at