NEWS
12/06/2019 10:42 BST | Updated 12/06/2019 11:15 BST

Cash-Strapped School Pleads For Charity Funding To Tackle Budget Cuts

"These children are not going to get the support they need.”

A school has appealed to charity to help fund pastoral support after budget cuts forced it to sack staff.

Downshall Primary School in Ilford, Essex, has placed a bid for support with BBC Children In Need after its two dedicated support workers were let go, the Guardian reported.

The newspaper quoted headteacher Ian Bennett as saying: “We are looking to charities to fund the school. I’ve never done it before. To have no pastoral support is awful. To lose two reading support workers is criminal. These children are not going to get the support they need.”

The Department for Education said while it recognised schools have faced budget challenges, school funding in England was at its “highest-ever level”.

Another school in Ilford, Mayespeak Primary School, recently won a £24,465 grant from Children In Need to fund groups for its pupils who miss early nurturing experiences, the Ilford Recorder reported.

It came as school funding becomes a hot political issue and after HuffPost UK investigation found last year that hundreds of schools were appealing to parents to fund basic supplies through Amazon amid budget shortages.

A survey in April found that two-thirds of secondary school headteachers planned swingeing cuts to staff budgets to save money.

Meanwhile, researchers have found “devastating” persistent poverty affects one in five UK children, prompting a call to the government for “a renewed commitment” to address the issue.

 

Caiaimage/Sam Edwards via Getty Images
An Essex school has pleaded for charity funding to cope with budget cuts.

 

While some children only experience poverty for part of their childhood, a fifth live with its effects until at least the age of 14, a team of researchers, writing online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, have found.

Downshall Primary School has a high percentage of disadvantaged pupils, with 89% reported to speak English as a second language.

The additional cash would fund “vital” support for children from families who are destitute, headteacher Ian Bennett added.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “While we recognise that schools have faced budgeting challenges, school funding in England is at its highest ever level. Under the national funding formula, Downshall primary school has attracted 2.5% more funding per pupil this year, compared to 2017-18. This is equivalent to an extra £101 per pupil.

“The education secretary has set out his determination to work with the sector to help schools ensure that every pound is spent as effectively as possible to give children a great education. He has also made clear that as we approach the next spending review, he will back headteachers to have the resources they need to deliver a world-class education.”