Weston Park Primary School forecasts £270k loss of income as parents donate
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Weston Park Primary School has forecast a £270,000 loss of income, which it has attributed to funding cuts from the government, falling rolls and the impact of Covid-19.
The school which serves Stroud Green, Hornsey and Crouch End, wrote a letter in November asking parents to make voluntary donations as it faced “very difficult decisions” to meet the following year’s budget.
Based in Denton Road, the school said its financial struggles meant it was “inevitable” that it had to seek “alternative” funding, but that its decision to ask parents for support was “not taken lightly”.
A parent, who asked not to be named, told the Ham&High Weston Park Primary School was a “very good”, well-run school, but that its financial struggles were “quite scary”.
"It’s a lot of money which no amount of selling cakes or comedy nights is going to raise,” the parent said.
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They added that asking parents for financial help could widen the divide between schools in richer and poorer areas: “I don’t think that should be any kind of official solution.
“Living in the fifth most advanced economy in the world and parents are being asked to contribute to keep their children's schools afloat, that doesn't make sense to me.”
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Weston Park headteacher Katie Coombes said the £270,000 figure was a forecast from November, and that the pandemic had “undeniably” impacted its ability to generate income, namely through the closure of the school, its nursery and clubs.
“Parents and carers had suggested voluntary contributions to us as a means of raising some much-needed funds, and to ensure that we can maintain an enriching, high-quality curriculum for our pupils here at Weston Park Primary,” Mrs Coombes said.
“The decision to go ahead with voluntary contributions wasn’t one that we took lightly at the time, but feedback since from parents and carers has indicated their support for this initiative."
The headteacher said cuts to education budgets since 2015 were still having a net negative financial impact when balanced against the announcement of an increase in overall school funding in August 2019.
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said government data showed per-pupil funding for five to 16-year-olds will be 2.6 per cent higher in real terms in 2021-22 than in 2010-11.
They added that an exceptional costs fund was started last year which allowed schools to claim up to £75,000.