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Governors' News & Events


Voluntary Fund

11 Jul 2019

Dear Parents/Carers,

Voluntary fund: what are your views?

The ever-increasing pressure on school budgets is a significant national issue and school leaders are becoming more concerned about their schools’ budgets over the next few years. Handsworth is not alone in having to look closely at cutting spending and finding innovative ways of raising income to balance the budget. Over the past five years, Handsworth has benefited from Jill taking on Executive Head Teacher positions in London schools, staff members being seconded to local schools, successful grant applications and the phenomenal support of Friends of Handsworth. We have also had to manage spending very carefully.

It has been necessary for Governors and the Senior Leadership Team to make increasingly difficult choices to make savings. In the coming year, for example, we will reduce the staff training budget by £6,000, the teachers’ resources budget by £10,000 and ICT technician support by 50%. The number of Teaching Assistants will be reduced and there is also a planned reduction in the Year 6 teaching team. We have been able to support our current Year 6s with three teachers across two classes, which has also allowed Mr Tromans some dedicated time to develop sports provision and wider participation in sports competitions for our children. We cannot continue to provide three teachers across the two Year 6 classes next year.

We also face financial pressures on maintenance of our school and equipment. The Local Authority was not able to provide any extra funding for required improvements identified by the recent conditions survey, or for a new school server. Our premises budget this year will not have room for any emergency maintenance.

Through very tight budget planning, we are predicting a balanced budget for one year. Future budget planning is difficult for schools because government funding is uncertain. Without additional funding from the Local Authority or the Department for Education, the projected deficit for 2020/21 is £40,800 and for 2021/22 it is £102,000. This would lead to even tougher choices ahead.

It is has become common for maintained schools to ask that parents/carers make voluntary donations to support school budgets. During last year’s consultation on academy conversion, several of you wrote to us to suggest doing this for Handsworth. Parents and carers’ voluntary contributions could make a huge difference to the school.  For example, every family giving £20 per term would raise around £16,000 for the school.  This would pay for one trainee teacher for a year. Other examples of where we could put the money to use include:
  • ​​​​​​​£100 will pay for a Teaching Assistant for 1 day
  • £100 will pay for Play Therapy or Speech and Language support for 2 hours
  • £100 will pay for the school’s ICT Technical support and broadband for 1 day
  • £100 will pay the school's energy & water bills for 1 day
  • £100 will pay for HB pencils for the school for 1 year
  • £400 will pay for one year 4 swimming lesson and the coach to get them there
  • £1,000 will pay for a supply teacher for 1 week
  • £1,000 will pay for cleaning supplies and the cleaning contract for 1 week
  • £1,000 will pay for the school's insurance for 1 month
  • £2,000 will pay for a replacement reading scheme and books for Key Stage 1
We would like to invite views now on setting up a voluntary fund to support the school budget. We hope to ​find out how valuable a voluntary fund could be for Handsworth and hear from parents/carers about how you would like such a fund to work. Please note that the school does not make any profit from school trips, school dinners or music lessons.

We are already committed that, if a voluntary fund were introduced:
  • contributions would always be entirely optional
  • contributions would always be confidential
  • there would never be any impact on individual pupils at school resulting from parents’/carers’ choice whether or not to contribute or the amount given
  • the school would never chase individual parents/carers who chose not to participate
Please let us know your thoughts by completing the short survey by Thursday 18th July 2019. 

Thank you very much in advance for your time.

Kind regards
The Governing Body
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