At Earlsfield we feel very fortunate to be part of a strong community and benefit greatly from the overwhelming support of our parents and carers (as evidenced in our recent Parentview response for Ofsted). Again, thank you!
We are proud of what we continue to achieve as a School, consistently maintaining high educational standards whilst providing a fully inclusive, full and exciting curriculum for our pupils. This has been recognised in our recent Ofsted inspections, is backed up by the external self-evaluation we participate in through the Guided Peer Evaluation Group and by other schools through the number of schools we have visiting to learn from our provision during the course of the year.
We have endeavoured to maintain these standards against an extremely difficult educational and financial backdrop.
In January 2023 we wrote to all parents outlining the challenges facing schools. This included information on school costs. Within that we shared that:
- In the Autumn Statement 2022, schools received the good news that budgets would increase by £2.3billion in each of the next two years (though £300 million is not new funding). The additional funding will take spending per pupil back to 2010 levels in real-terms.
- Schools this year have been hit with exceptional costs that weren’t predicted when the budget was set in March 2022 – unfunded pay awards, rising energy costs and rapidly rising inflation across all areas of school spending which is continuing into the new financial year.
Nothing has changed or indeed been resolved since January 2023. This pattern has followed into the new financial year that started in March 2023.
The majority of the School’s income is influenced by factors outside our direct control. However, the School has always worked hard to ensure that the budget is managed well and sought to raise income, for example from school lettings, where possible. The Local Authority have always viewed us as a prudent school. As a result of careful management, we have savings - a carry forward - and when we set our budget we tend to use some of this to balance in order to maintain our level of provision beyond what our income is.
However, even with the use of our carry-forward, like all schools, we have had to make some difficult decisions around staffing and curriculum provision. Reduced staffing can impact on our overall ability to manage unexpected absences, provide leadership time for the staff and increases the pressures on the teachers. We have reduced the amount we spend on the upkeep of the building whilst still endeavouring to maintain a similar level of curriculum provision wherever possible.
We know that we are in a good position, compared with many other schools as we have a relatively stable roll, however the forecast for the next three years suggests that if we maintain our current trajectory of expenditure then our reserves will be exhausted. This will only improve if inflation is significantly reduced (lowering costs in energy etc) and that current and future pay rises are funded. If this does not happen then we will be unable to keep our wider core curriculum offer that sets us aside from many schools.
We are often asked by our parents what they can do to help support the School. We have considered this extremely carefully and (with the support of the Governing Board) have taken the difficult decision in asking parents to consider supporting the school financially. We do not do this lightly, acknowledging that it is at a time of high inflation and rising costs for everyone, everywhere.
We are parents, if they can, to contribute voluntarily to the school’s funding (completely separately to the PTA fundraising that happens).
School funds raised directly from parents will be used to pay for classroom and curriculum resources as well as support the maintenance and improvement of the school premises. Financial pressures are likely to remain so we anticipate that asking for voluntary contributions from parents will now be a recurring request.
We are asking families, only if they have the means to do so, to make a voluntary contribution with the suggested amount of £10 as a monthly standing order (totalling £120 over a year). We will not check which families make this contribution as it is entirely personal choice, nor will be making a judgement of those who do or do not contribute and we will not offer any form of preferential treatment. You should feel able to contribute at your own discretion and more or less than this amount depending on your own circumstances, either through smaller regular payments/standing orders or as a one-off payment. For those donating the identity will be confidential and will not extend beyond myself and the School Business Manager, Mr Gava.
Please note again that our request is for an entirely voluntary contribution. We are sensitive to the pressures on families in challenging financial circumstances and respect that a contribution at this time might not be possible.
The school’s bank account details for school fund payments/setting up standing orders is:
Account Name: Wandsworth Council Re Earlsfield Primary School Disbursement Account
Sort Code: 60-22-28
Account No: 69615640
We do hope that you appreciate the spirit in which this request is made and any donation, however big or small, will be hugely appreciated. We hope you understand that we would not take this step lightly and thank you in advance for your generous consideration of this request.