AS I head back for a critical week in Westminster after a busy summer of constituency work, I’m also thinking of the pupils and staff going back to school.

This is especially after I asked headteachers to tell me just how much the schools funding situation is affecting Stroud children.

Before the summer holidays, I asked every primary and secondary school in the constituency to participate in a survey about school budgets. I was shocked at the results, which are a damning indictment of this government’s approach to education.

Every single headteacher who responded said that current funding is inadequate, 84 per cent said they have been forced to cut books and teaching resources - 79 per cent have cut teacher training and support; and 65 per cent have been forced to axe parts of their curriculum. Three quarters said they have also cut Special Educational Needs and Disabilities provision.

One headteacher described “a feeling of isolation and inability to keep children safe.”

Another asked: “How are schools to ensure standards are maintained or even improve when we will be forced to reduce the level of support and resources?”

Sadly, I fear budget pressures impact poorest children most. My own survey comes just weeks after the Education Policy Institute revealed that in Stroud, disadvantaged pupils are 20 months behind their peers by the time they reach GCSEs, a wider attainment gap than the national average.

Our new Chancellor may be about to pull some rabbits out of the hat with proclamations of financial support for schools, but there are no guarantees the government will ever be in a position to make that funding materialise - and all the evidence from the past nine years shows how little it values our schools, teachers and children.