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Head Start Appeal

What is Head Start? Option 6 2

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? 

Please complete the donation form and submit 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? 

If you have any questions, please contact the governors at gxgovernors@gerrardscross.bucks.sch.uk

 

Head Start and school funding FAQs

Head Start and school funding

Is Head Start the same as the School Fund?

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?

The 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 Head Start fund?


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?

Currently Head Start has a range of giving levels, based on families’ circumstances. 

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. 

In particular, recent central government decisions in respect to staff pay increases and pensions contributions have only been partially funded. 

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


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 forecast a growing deficit over the next 3 years budgets. There is no reason to expect significant change from the government at this point, given the forthcoming election.

 We have written to our MP Joy Morrisey and the Secretary of State for Education, asking for their support and action.

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?

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 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 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 gxgovernors@gerrardscross.bucks.sch.uk


 

Questions about how the fund is used

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 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 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.

Without the Head Start fund supporting the budget, the governors will have to make difficult decisions that will impact the provision we make for all children.

 


 

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?

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.

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?

Your child will continue to enjoy a rich and high quality education, with a curriculum and staff team that engage, enrich and inspire.


 

Head Start and the PTA - are they the same?

Is Head Start the same as the PTA?

What's different about the money the PTA raises?

Why should I give to the Head Start rather than the PTA?


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

Alternative funding

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