Funding fears drive Shoreham school to get creative

A school facing the fear of funding cuts has come up with a creative way to provide pupils with essential school items.

Wednesday, 14th June 2017, 12:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th June 2017, 2:38 pm
St Peters School held a fundraising own clothes day

Pupils at St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, in Sullington Way, Shoreham were invited to come in wearing their own clothes on Monday in exchange for donating classroom necessities.

Liz Matthews, personal assistant to the school’s head teacher, said: “It went really well.

“Everybody was very generous and very supportive.”

Glue sticks, colouring pencils, felt-tip pens, handwriting pens, tissues, whiteboard pens and paper were some of the requested items brought in by pupils.

Head teacher Kate Crees said that she was ‘really pleased’ with the number of items donated.

She has shared the idea, which was proposed by parent governors, with other schools.

Mrs Crees said while the school was in ‘a better position’ than some other schools, the outlook was ‘not rosy’.

“We face cuts in both support teacher and teaching assistant hours next year,” she said.

“We have also had to cut specialist music teaching.”

The school has been hit by pressures surrounding national insurance, pension increases and has faced ‘additional costs’ to cover essential services provided by the local education authority, she said.

“We had to fundraise to cover a budget shortfall of approximately 4.5 per cent,” she added.

“Any final formula funding agreement will need to take this into account.”

Parents had been ‘incredibly supportive’ with fundraising, she said, adding any funds raised by the parent and teacher association were now put towards essential school items.

West Sussex County Council, under leader Louise Goldsmith, and West Sussex MPs have been leading a campaign to secure fairer funding for West Sussex schools.

A county council spokesman said: “The county council has been consistently calling for fairer funding for our schools working with our MPs and head teachers over the last couple of years.

“One of our key policies is to give children the best start in life.

“It is vital that we do everything we can to try to secure enough funding from government to provide our children with the standard of education they deserve.

“We fully understand and are sympathetic to the situation our schools and governors are now facing and we appreciate the funding pressures they are experiencing.”