The Stroud MP's weekly column.

Schools across Stroud will be breaking up over the next few days at the end of what has been a unique and, sadly, very disruptive academic year for everyone.

I would like to thank teachers for everything they have done since March. It has been a tremendous achievement to stay open teaching key workers’ children and those who were vulnerable, in addition to developing online learning for other pupils.

To pupils, I would say thank you for your patience and understanding, especially for those who were due to leave schools this year after taking their GCSEs. I do understand this is not how it was supposed to be but I would also like to pay tribute to your resilience.

There has been some very welcome news around schools’ funding too. The education secretary has announced all state school pupils in England will receive an increase of funding of 2% or more. This new funding settlement means secondary schools will receive a minimum of £5,150 per pupil up from £5,000 and primary schools will now have at least £4,000 per pupil up from £3,750. The money will be used to enable teachers to help any pupils who had fallen behind due to the pandemic. Another £1 billion has been earmarked for a Covid-19 ‘catch up’ package to make up for lost teaching time due to school closures.

Local authorities in England have also received more money to deal with extra Covid pressures with the Stroud District Council getting a further £150,000, in addition to the £1.23 million it has already received, as part of a new £500 million package to help councils with cashflow support. Many have lost much of their earnings from parking and leisure centres etc during lockdown. To date, the government has given £4.3 billion of direct support to councils to help deal with the pandemic and secure frontline services.