The Mail is reporting that the head of a ‘cash-strapped’ state school is asking parents to help plug budget shortfalls by making financial donations and even setting up monthly standing orders.
Mark Mallett has written an open letter to parents of children at Chew Valley School near Bristol in which he asks them to dip into their pockets to counter the effect of government spending cuts.
He has already slashed departmental budgets by ten per cent and warned that three-and-a-half teaching jobs will be lost unless more funds can be found.
Mr Mallett asked the parents of all 1,150 students to set up monthly payments or send ‘one off’ financial donations via text message.
Despite parents responding by claiming state schools should not be relying on donations, Mr Mallett defended the move by saying it was reasonable to ask parents with ‘broader economic shoulders’ to ‘lend a hand’ in times of difficulty.
He said: ‘The reason why we’re in difficulties in schools at the moment is that, although the government said that they are going to remain the same in cash terms, what it doesn’t account for is all the additional expenses that have come on in increases of national insurance and pension contributions.
‘So there’s a big hole that’s opened up in all school budgets because of those things and so what headteachers are having to do in difficult times is to make very difficult decisions about where to apply the cuts…
‘Parents are facing austerity as well and in the run up to Christmas it’s not an ideal time but there are parents who do have broader economic shoulders who are able to lend a hand in times of difficulty.
‘Rather than picking and choosing which parents to write to, you send out a general sort of a feel don’t you and there’s a response.’
One mother who has a child at the school – who asked only to be named as ‘Nina’ – said state schools should not be relying on parents for funding.
However, she has started donating £5 a month to the school after receiving the letter…
Apart from the principle, the fear with this is surely that if will further widen the gap between schools in better-off and worse-off areas.
What do you think? Should schools be doing this? Is there any argument for prohibiting it?
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