Downshall primary school in Ilford, east London, which has a large proportion of children from disadvantaged backgrounds – 89% of whom have English as a second language – has put in a bid to the charity for funding to pay for pastoral care for three years. The Guardian reports.
The school has been forced to axe its team of two pastoral support workers because of budget constraints. It is also having to cut back on reading support assistants and specialist PE staff.
Downshall’s headteacher, Ian Bennett, said: “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.”
School funding has climbed up the political agenda in recent months, with reports of schools closing early, parents being asked for donations, teachers using their own money to buy basic supplies, and headteachers
taking on additional roles including catering, safeguarding and cleaning to save money.
A Guardian investigation recently revealed more than 1,000 schools across England had
turned to crowdfunding websites and wish lists to raise money, with many appealing for pencils, glue and textbooks.
Children in Need is currently funding 52 projects based within schools across the UK, which it says represent 2% of its active portfolio, including breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and holiday play schemes. The charity says it has not noted an increase in school applications for funding – in fact, there was a decrease last year.
Many schools in England say they have been forced to
cut pastoral support because of the funding crisis, to avoid losing teachers’ jobs. Bennett says pastoral support is vital for many of the children in his school.
A spokesperson for Children in Need said: “Schools are able to apply for funding to deliver projects that will make a tangible difference to children and young people who are facing disadvantages. However, we do not provide grants for work which statutory bodies such as schools or local authorities have a duty to fund.
“Schools applying for funding must demonstrate how their project will provide additional services that are beyond the state’s responsibility. These projects normally take place outside of school time, before or after school, during lunch or in the holidays, unless there are exceptional circumstances.”
Read more School asks BBC Children in Need to cover funding gap
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