Should schools have a greater role in delivering their own funding solutions?

The new academic year started with a bang following the government’s announcement that schools will receive an extra £2.6 billion in September 2020 and a three-year plan that would boost school funding by £7.1 billion by 2022-23.

 

Since then, however, number of responses have emerged which have dampened the initial enthusiasm and the sector has headed into the half-term break with further uncertainty (not helped, of course, by the bigger ‘Brexit bubble’):

• The Institute for Fiscal Studies released a report saying that, after inflation is taken into account, schools will only be getting an extra £4.3 billion per year in real terms by 2022-23 – leaving them in the same financial position as they were 13 years ago. This led Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, to comment that the report is a “sober assessment of the government’s hyped-up announcements over education funding”.

• Analysis from the School Cuts coalition suggests that four out of five schools will be worse off next year than they were in 2015. Despite extra funding being announced by the Department for Education, the group says the vast majority of schools will still be less well funded than they were four years ago. Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, added that the analysis suggests that Boris Johnson is wrong to claim that government is now “levelling up” school funding across the country.

• A report by Forum Strategy consultancy and The Key school leaders’ information service highlighted how funding pressures are impacting on Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) leaders, with just 12% of respondents saying they were “not at all concerned” about the financial viability of their trust. More than one in five leaders of MATs are “extremely concerned” about their organisation’s financial viability – others were “somewhat concerned” (31%), “concerned” (34%) or “extremely concerned” (23%).

 

So, with school leadersunions and think-tanks all saying the same thing – that the government’s commitment to new funding is not enough – what else can they do in the meantime? The topic of our last blogthe Parentkind annual survey, highlighted once again the opportunities around school fundraising activity. Whilst schools cannot control how much money they receive from Westminster, they can influence their approach to raising funds and donations from other sources, our area of expertise.

One of the schools we are our partnering is Tring Park School. “The team at FundStar are genuinely invested in helping us as a school: they want to understand how we communicate with our potential donors to best help them to help us,” says the School’s Director of Development and External Relations Dawn Adam.

“We tend to concentrate on the big projects and there is less money around for the smaller things that really make a difference. FundStar allows us to ask for very little from our community and still be able to achieve results. It has opened a line of communication with some parents who have previously avoided development emails as they do not feel they can give sufficiently.”

There are also significant benefits for parents to get involved. ‘Star Rewards’ gives customers the opportunity to earn cashback when they make a purchase

with their FundStar card at outlets including:

 

Argos, Clarks, New Look, Halfords, Café Rouge, Foot Locker, H Samuel,

Belgo Bar & Restaurant, Bella Italia, Boardman, Carpetright, Cycle Republic, e-Careers,

Goldsmiths, Inspire Travel, Laithwaite’s Wine, Storey Carpets and YO! Sushi.

 

FundStar card users also enjoy discounted gift vouchers and gift cards from Argos, FatFace, Marks & Spencer,

Tesco, Waitrose, 365Tickets and 3Retro.

 

 

 

The FundStar team

21st October 2019

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