Head Start Appeal
What is Head Start?
Head Start is a fundraising initiative lead by the Governing Body, who feel passionate about our school. Its aim is to protect and maintain the high quality of education received by every child so they get 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 Head Start fund.
We estimate an average shortfall of approximately £128,000 in 2023-2024, if we are to retain the exceptionally high quality of education and curriculum-enriching activities we currently give our children.
To see how our school is funded, please click here
How much should I donate?
We welcome and appreciate all donations and we suggest that £2.50 per school day per child (£41 per month) will make a significant difference. Some parents may be able to contribute more. £4 per school day (£65 per month) would make a substantial difference as we aim to balance our budget while providing the best possible education for our pupils.
Regular monthly contributions are ideal to provide certainty as we budget, however one-off contributions are very welcome.
How do I donate?
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.
If you have any questions, please contact the governors at email@example.com
Head Start and school funding FAQs
Head Start and school funding
Is Head Start the same as the 'School Fund'?
Yes - historically Head Start was referred to as the 'School Fund' or the 'Governors' School Development Fund'. Head Start is now our appeal and fund name (although the bank account is still entitled 'School Fund'). The fund has been in existence since 2001 and has contributed over £330k 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 £160k a year. There are obviously various assumptions in our budget, and it depends on political decisions regarding the funding of education.
How much are you asking parents to give?
We suggest that parents might want to choose a monthly donation of £25, £41, £65 or another amount. Providing information for Gift Aid 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 reduced 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 core costs.
The government says it's increasing spending on schools so why isn't the school managing?
Whilst there has been an increase in our allocation it has not been sufficient to cover pay and pension increases therefore budgets for the next three years 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 Head Start, we will have to take decisions which will impact the additional enrichment provision that is over and above that which the government requires us to provide. We are trying to avoid this and hence our request for support of the Head Start fund.
How much does the school get from the government, and why isn't it enough?
We currently receive approximately £7,460 per pupil from the government annually which makes up over 85% of our income. We also receive some specific funding for KS1 lunches, sport, pupils with SEND, 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 Head Start fund has been used to cover the deficit in the past.
Why haven't you told us there was such a big gap before?
The Governors wrote to parents and carers in December 2023 in response to our financial planning process. (In the FY22/23 financial year, following careful financial management and a deliberate reduction in our costs, we had a small £7k surplus.)
We need to ask more urgently that parents and carers who can help, contribute financially. We are asking parents and carers to contribute regularly to the fund. Without your help, we will remain in a position where we have to make some very 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, sign up to support the Head Start 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 and make cuts that will impact the children's day to day education.
What happens if more money is raised than the deficit?
The school has many plans that it would like to take forward if funding was available. Some of these are capital projects including developing further sporting facilities, while others would include increasing the number of learning support staff to support pupils throughout the school.
What if I/we can't afford to give?
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 high quality education. In the current environment, many schools (including other local 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 Head Start fund?
Governors are available to discuss Head Start at various events including autumn term Parents' Evenings. Questions can be emailed to the Governors at any time via firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions about how the fund is used
What will the money be spent on?
The Head Start fund is used for various costs – from repairing roofs and boilers, to being allocated to cover a budget deficit. The use of the Head Start fund has allowed the governors to approve staffing decisions and plans in 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 school's costs are spent on the teaching and other staff needed to ensure a rich and high quality education. We are fortunate to have such experienced and knowledgeable 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.
What will the money raised get spent on this year?
We are anticipating a budget deficit of approximately £128k this year rising to £177k within 2 years. The Head Start 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?
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.
The Governors have decided that ongoing leaks for example, have a detrimental impact on the educational environment and therefore on the children’s education. As a result, the school has had to spend its own money on a range of repairs.
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?
Head Start and the PTA - are they the same?
Is 'Head Start' the same as the PTA?
No, the PTA is run by parents and raises funds for specific projects such as the purchase of classroom Interactive Display Boards, the building of the bike sheds and repainting the playground. Additionally the PTA provides some of the school community events that are fun and engaging, for children and parents. These include 'Party in the Playground', the Christmas fair, the circus, quiz nights, and many more.
Head Start contributes towards a wide range of possible costs. These range from ensuring we can cover the staff costs for the year to paying for electricity and gas. Without these costs being covered, the school would not be able to carry on as it currently does.
What's different about the money the PTA raises?
The PTA do a wonderful job of fundraising with a lot of fun involved. They play a key role in building our community and we are very grateful to them. The PTA generally fundraise for specific ‘extras’ that our budget is unable to stretch to. For example they have purchased iPads and charging trolleys for used across the school and they have helped with upgrading our facilities, such as the bike and scooter parking and air conditioning in Year 6 classrooms.
The Head Start fund provides funds which enable the school to cover the educational provision. It ensures the budget for teaching and support staff is covered, as well as supporting other running costs of the school. Without these costs being covered, the school would not be able to continue to offer the level of provision and education which the children currently enjoy.
Why should I give to the Head Start rather than the PTA?
Whilst the governors understand there is more enjoyment in wanting to fund the ‘special extras’ that the PTA provide, the Head Start fund is fundamental to supporting the teaching and learning of all the children in the school.
We certainly hope that you are able to continue to support the PTA through involvement in their excellent events. However we ask you to consider, if you are financially able, supporting the Head Start fund as well.
Practicalities of the fund
Why can't we give online?
Does Mrs Flower or the governors know who is giving to the Head Start fund?
Mrs Flower does not have any involvement in the running/managing of Head Start and is not aware of who is donating. Head Start is managed by the School Business Manager, assisted by an independent resource. The Finance Committee has responsibility for the fund, but do not have access to individual donor names.
Why do you ask for a direct debit?
Can I give my left over childcare vouchers?
My work does matched giving - why isn't the school set up for this?
Why aren't we getting money from other sources - for example,Tesco vouchers, online cashback?
The governors are reviewing all options for raising funds for the school. However, having reviewed other school experiences together with the level of need, parental giving is likely to be the most important immediate area to focus on. We are working with other parent volunteers to ensure all commercial routes are also explored. The governors will work with the PTA to utilise the best alternative fundraising options for the school.
I have an idea about raising funds. How do I share this?
If you would like to discuss an idea further, please speak to one of the Governors available at one of the School events (such as Parents' Evenings) or email them at email@example.com.