Parentkind (formerly PTA UK), whose mission is to support, engage and champion parents in education, has released its fifth annual parent survey around what parents really think about the cost of their child’s education and school funding.
With a headline finding that 76% of parents (1,500 surveyed) say the cost of sending children to school is increasing and 51% agree they are worried about such cost, the final report also highlights a number of issues and trends around school fundraising where “asking parents to contribute to the school fund is still common practice”:
- 38% of parents reported being asked by their child’s school for a donation to the school fund and 29% have donated in the past year.
- Parents with children in standalone local authority maintained schools were more likely to be asked (46%) than those in academies (31% of standalone academics and 32% of academies in multi-academy trusts).
- Parents with pupils in further education (43%) were more likely to be asked than those of pupils attending secondary schools (35%).
- 55% of parents believe that any potential extra funding should be spent on learning resources (55%) and IT equipment (43%).
- As well as this, a high proportion of parents prioritise funding being directed to child mental health services (39%) and support for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (34%).
Overall, the percentage of parents being asked by their child’s school for a donation to the school fund remains broadly in line with previous years and, on average, parents reported donating £8.15 a month. What is interesting, however, is there are inconsistencies in school fundraising across the UK and in the target demographic.
For example, younger parents were more likely to report being asked to donate (45% of under 34s) and so were parents in Northern Ireland (66% v 37% in England and 32% in Wales). In England, parents in the West Midlands (48%), the South East (45%) and London (44%) were more likely to be asked. Worryingly, in our view, parents whose children are eligible for free school meals are more likely to report being asked for a donation (45% v 38%). So why are there these inconsistencies, and patterns, emerging?
The answer has to be that schools (on the whole) lack a strategic, co-ordinated approach to fundraising. They generally lack the capacity and capability to generate meaningful funding for meaningful projects. Yet we know there is an appetite for parental fundraising, and indeed one in four parents who are asked give more than £10 a month. Parents in London (£10.65) and Northern Ireland (£10.25) are likely to donate more.
For its part, Parentkind says it “commends all parent groups for the invaluable fundraising efforts they make on behalf of their schools”, going on to state in the report recommendations that:
“Schools and their communities have the right to fundraise. Parentkind believes that parents who are willing and able to make a financial contribution to their child’s school will find doing so via a PTA has benefits over contributing to the school fund. This is because the best PTAs have a clear constitution on what they aim to do, they seek to invest to benefit every child in the school and parents can directly influence where any funds raised are invested”.
This mirrors FundStar’s ethos, values and model. So, whether the fundraising discussion is happening within the PTA or the Headteacher’s office, our objective is to help you to raise money in a time and cost-effective manner through our unique approach which is already benefiting schools up and down the country.
Take Tring Park School, who we are working with to raise money for a number of projects, such as new outdoor gym equipment which can be used at evenings and weekends as well in school time. As Dawn Adam, the School’s Director of Development and External Relations, said: “Donor fatigue is a common thing and FundStar allows us to put the power in the hands of the donor, to ultimately make them feel in control.”
The FundStar team
14th October 2019