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Head Start

What is Head Start? Option 6 2

Head Start is our campaign to ensure we can invest in a bright future for all our children. By protecting and maintaining the quality of education for every child at our school, we can guarantee the best head start to their academic journey and beyond. 

We need your help 

At a time when funding from central government is inadequate, we urgently need your help by donating to our charitable School Fund. 

We estimate an average shortfall of approximately £60,000 per year if we are to retain the exceptionally high quality of education and curriculum-enriching activities we currently give our children. 

How much should I donate? 

We welcome and appreciate all donations and we suggest that £1 a day per child will make a significant difference. 

Regular monthly contributions are ideal to provide certainty as we budget, however one-off contributions are very welcome. 

How do I donate? 

You can donate here

Keep informed and THANK YOU! 

We are fully committed to keeping all parents and carers informed about our financial situation. Check back here regularly for up-to-date information. 

A huge thank you to everyone who has signed up to the fund for your generous contributions. 

Any questions? 

There’s a lot to take on board, so if you have any questions, please see below for a copy of the presentation from the launch event, the FAQs or contact us at headstart@bucksgfl.org.uk

Head Start Handout

 

FAQs:

The School Fund

What is the School Fund?

Is this the same as the PTA?

Is this the same as the Governors School Development Fun?

How much money does the fund need to raise?

How much are you asking parents to give?

Why can't schools survive on Government money?

Government says it's increasing spending on schools so why isn't the school managing?

How much does the school get from the Government, and why isn't it enough?

Why haven't you told us there was such a big gap before?

I volunteer at the school, isn't this enough?

What happens if no-one gives?

What happens if more money is raised than the deficit?

What if I/we can't afford to give?

I pay my taxes, shouldn't this be enough?

Where can I find out more about the School Fund?


What is the school fund?

The School Fund is money provided by parents to help support the school. The Governors use the School Fund to ensure the school can cover its budget costs as well as plan for future spending. 

More recently the School Fund has been used to cover a deficit in funding provided by the Government. In other years it has been used to repair roofs, allow works on the library/SEND building, upgrade of the fire alarm system.


Is this the same as the PTA?

No, the PTA is run by parents and raises funds for specific projects such as the recent purchase of 30 iPads and charging trolley and the building of the bike sheds. Additionally the PTA provides some of the School community events that are fun and engaging – for children and parents – for example Party in the Playground, Christmas Fair, School-wide trip to London Zoo. 

The School Fund covers a wide range of possible costs – from ensuring we can cover the staff costs for the year to paying electricity and gas. Without these costs being covered, the School would not be able to carry on as it currently does.


Is this the same as the Governors School Development Fund?

Yes, The School Fund (previously the GSDF) has been in existence since 2001 and has contributed over £300k to the School’s budgets since that time.


How much money does the fund need to raise?

The budget for the next 3 years expects an average deficit of £60k a year. There are obviously various assumptions in our budget, and depends on political decisions regarding the funding of education.


How much are you asking parents to give?

Currently the School Fund has a range of giving based on families’ circumstances. 

We have suggested on our School Fund form that parents might want to choose a monthly donation of £30, £50, £70 or another amount. Providing information for GiftAid adds 25% to any donation which is obviously valuable to the School, and allows taxpayers to claim a further deduction in their tax return.


Why can't schools survive on Government money?

The School receives funding based on a funding formula determined by the Government. In recent years, this funding formula has targeted more funding to schools in more deprived areas, and reducing funding in areas considered more affluent. As a result our School has not received enough funding from the Government to cover our costs. We have made difficult choices to reduce our discretionary costs as much as possible (such as increasing the time between painting/replacing carpeting in the school) but we still have not been able to cover our costs. 

The Government has had to adjust the funding formula in the past year as there were many schools in our position. However we anticipate (even with a small increase to our funding allocation) that we will remain in deficit. 

This is a common story, often in the news, and there are significant numbers of schools in our position.


Government says it's increasing spending on schools so why isn't the school managing?

Whilst the increase in our allocation is very welcome, we still have budgets over the next 3 years which show a deficit based on our expected income. 

We have cut all the costs we can, whilst trying to maintain the additional enrichment activities and levels of staffing we feel are important for the outstanding education the School provides. Without the money from the School Fund, we would have to take decisions which would impact the additional enrichment provision that is over and above that which the Government requires us to provide to our children. We are trying to avoid this and hence our request for support of the School Fund.


How much does the School get from the Government, and why isn't it enough?

We receive approximately £3.3k 2018/19 per pupil from the Government annually which makes up over 85% of our income. We also receive some specific funding for KS1 lunches, Sport, SEN pupils and some small amounts for capital projects. 

Our main cost – over 80% - is our staff – teaching, support, office staff, lunchtime supervisors, kitchen staff etc. The 

remaining approx. 15-17% covers ICT, utilities, lunches, repairs and maintaining the school buildings and grounds. 

We are fortunate to have excellent, experienced teaching and other staff within the school. We have prioritised our spending to ensure we maintain our staffing to ensure the best education provision for our children. In common with other schools, the allocation of funds from the Government does not cover all of these costs, and therefore the School Fund has been used to cover the deficit over the past few years.


Why haven't you told us there was such a big gap before?

The Governors have sent several letters over the past years asking for support for the School Fund (GSDF). The parents who have supported the School have ensured we have been able to cover the deficit over the past few years. 

However, as we look forward, with the information we have from the Government, we expect our deficit to continue in the next 3 years budgets (and with no expectation of significant change from the Government at this point). 

So we need to ask more urgently that parents who can help contribute financially consider signing up to regularly contribute to the fund before we are in a position here we have to make even more difficult decisions.


I volunteer at the school, isn't this enough?

We are very thankful to those parents who give of their time and efforts to support the School in many different ways. We are asking that those who are able to financially support the School consider if they would begin contributing to the School Fund.


What happens if no-one gives?

We will continue to have to make difficult decisions. We have tried to ensure that our decisions have minimal impact on the quality and richness of the children’s education. However, unless we can ensure that the deficit is covered by funding we will have to take more difficult financial decisions that will impact the children more directly.


What happens if more money is raised from the deficit?

The School has many plans that it would like to take forward if funding was available, some of which are capital projects, using the space the School has in different ways, and other choices would include increasing learning support for different needs within the School.


What if I/we can't afford to give?

Not all families can give financially and we recognise that it is voluntary. We ask that those who are able to financially support the School consider if they would begin contributing.


I pay my taxes, shouldn't this be enough?

As has been covered extensively in the news, the funding that Schools receive is not sufficient to cover the costs of providing a rich and quality education. In the current environment, many schools ask for additional voluntary support from parents to allow for the costs of providing an excellent education.


Where can I find out more about the School Fund?

There are links to information on the School website. Additionally Governors are available to discuss the School Fund at various events including Parent Evenings, and questions can be emailed to the Governors via gxgovernors@bucksgfl.org.uk.


 

Questions around the uses of the fund

What will the money be spent on?

How do we know you are getting value for money for what the school is given from the Government?

How does my child/do my children benefit?

What did £40k get spent on last year?

What will money raised get spent on this year?

Why doesn't the Government pay for repairs for roofs, boilers etc?

How does the School make sure it gets value for money?

What difference will I see by giving?


What will the money be spent on?

The School Fund is used for various costs – from repairing roofs (Reception and the library/SEN space being the most recent) to being allocated to cover a budget deficit. The use of the School Fund has allowed the Governors to approve staffing decisions and plans for recent years.


How do we know you are getting value for money for what the school is given from the Government?

The Governors review the costs of the School very carefully. Over 80% of the costs of the School are spent on the teaching and other staff needed to ensure a rich and quality education. We are fortunate to have such experienced and valued members of teaching and support staff that have a direct impact on the children’s education.

As well as reviewing the costs relating to the staffing plans, the Governors scrutinise the ongoing additional costs (the remaining 15-18%) to ensure the School gets the maximum value for money from its allocation.


How does my child/do my children benefit?

All children benefit from the experienced and excellent teaching and support staff that the School provides. All children benefit from the richness and quality of the education provided at the School.

Without the School Fund supporting the budget, the Governors will have to make decisions that will impact this and therefore impact all children.


What did £40k get spent on last year?

£40k was transferred to the School budget to cover the anticipated deficit in 2017-18. This covered the ongoing costs of the school based on its budget– staffing, premises etc. We anticipate an average deficit over the next 3 years of £60k. Without the use of the School Fund, the Governors will need to make cuts to the School budget of these amounts.


What will the money raised get spent on this year?

We are anticipating a budget deficit of approximately £80k this year. Hence the School Fund will be used for this to ensure we do not have to make further cost reductions.


Why doesn't the Government pay for repairs for roofs, boilers etc?

The School is an Academy and therefore receives an allocation of funds directly from the Department of Education.

The School is allocated a small amount each year to cover running repairs (approx. £8k). The annual repairs and maintenance costs are, as you would imagine, much more than this.

For any emergency and large repairs, the School can (and does) apply for central funds available for Academies. The Schools’ experience has been that funding is not usually granted unless the emergency/repair is such that children have to be sent home for health and safety reasons.

Hence the School has had to spend money repairing leaking roofs/boilers as the Governors have decided that ongoing leaks etc have a detrimental impact on the educational environment and therefore on the children’s education.


How does the School make sure it gets value for money?

The School has strong purchasing policies that require review of multiple quotes for larger purchases and for contracts. These are scrutinised by the Finance Committee of the Governing Body and challenged as necessary.


What difference will I see giving?

Your child will continue to enjoy a rich and quality education, allowing for a varied enriching curriculum.


 

School Fund vs PTA

Practicalities of the fund

Alternative Funding

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