THE same day a letter signed by more than 7,000 headteachers was sent to millions of families across England asking parents to lobby their MPs for more money for schools, Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran spoke to local heads at Sheldon School in Chippenham.

One of the attendees, head of Royal Wootton Bassett Academy George Croxford, sent out the letter - which says education secretary, Damian Hinds has refused to meet headteachers and hear first-hand their struggles with funding cuts. The letter, from headteachers’ campaigning group Worth Less? says they were rebuffed three times after inviting Hinds for a meeting.

Mr Croxford's letter said: “Sadly, I have to confirm that despite intense lobbying of the government and Department for Education, matters remain extremely challenging.

“In short, schools are still not being provided with adequate funding and resource to deliver the level of provision and support that is expected and that our families and children deserve.”

But after the meeting at Sheldon School, Ms Moran said it had not been timed to coincide the meeting - though funding issues were top of the agenda.

"We decided months ago to have a talk with lots of heads. It's taken a while to find a date," she said.

She set up the meeting with Helen Belcher, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Chippenham, and it was also attended by Mike Loveridge, head of Rowdeford School, Lisa Percy, head of Hardenhuish School, Neil Spurdell, head of Sheldon School, Fergus Stewart, head of St Laurence in Bradford on Avon, and Rosalyn Way, head of St Nicholas School in Chippenham. Ms Moran said she wanted to find out what was happening.

"It wasn't just funding, but a general view of the educational landscape," she said.

The agenda also included issues within teaching.

"They talked about wanting to run subjects, which they are not now able to run," Ms Moran explained.

"We spoke about increasing costs, not only teachers' pay and pensions, but cuts to local authority children's and youth services, which is having an effect in the classroom."

Ms Belcher said teacher recruitment and retention was also an important issue, with staff opting to work four days a week to cope with workload - or leaving the profession.

"We need to invest in education - it is an investment in our future," she said.