A low level of government funding compared to other schools and closure during the pandemic hit our school budget hard. From April 2022, the school's finances are healthy, strong and sustainable for the next few years thanks to:
- class sizes of up to 32 pupils from year 3;
- voluntary parent donations of £43k;
- return to pre-pandemic self-generated income.
Looking ahead, we can continue to provide the same things to our pupils as we do now, provided that the number of pupils at school stays about the same.
We are now going to work towards improving our school site. Before the pandemic, we were about to build a new all weather, floodlit multi-sport playing surface. We switched our cash reserves for this project to pay wages when the school was closed. If funds allow, we will build this as soon as we can. We want our pupils to benefit from better facilities at break times, during PE lessons and at after-school clubs.
We continue to welcome regular voluntary donations to school from parents but our financial need is lower. There is no expectation on any family to make a voluntary donation to the school's funds:
- if your circumstances have changed, or you no longer wish to make a donation, thank you for your help this year;
- if you wish to continue making a donation to support us - thank you - every £1 helps us offer our pupils a little bit more;
- if you would like to start making a regular, voluntary donation to the school, please contact us for our bank details: E:firstname.lastname@example.org
At Fielding, we are lucky to have a supportive and interested community who care about education. Together, we all want to give our pupils and your children the best we can.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in different ways. From April 2021, our school faces financial pressure like never before:
- £300,000 cash reserves used to pay wages, when the school closed to most pupils. Our planned multi-sport playing pitch cancelled.
- less money from our self-generated income, including childcare and school meals, because we were closed to most pupils.
Every year, Fielding receives a low level of government funding compared to other schools:
- lowest 2% of schools for government funding because our pupils have less social deprivation than others.
- highest 1% of all schools for self-generated income.
Meanwhile, staff costs are rising because more and more of our team stay working for us and reach the top of their pay scale.
Looking ahead, there is not enough money from our self-generated income to top-up our level of government funding.
The school is going to struggle to keep up the quality and consistency of what we offer all pupils.
Tough decisions and choices
From April 2021, to balance our school budget, we cut spending and changed where and how our staff work to cut costs:
- £178,000 spending cut
- moved teaching assistants from working with classes and matched them to work with pupils who have special educational needs and receive extra funding
- halved release time for teacher leaders from class.
We still also need PTFA fund-raising to pay for our extra opportunities, like gardening and Forest School.
So far, we have kept everything we offer our pupils and saved jobs.
Next year and then the year after, our budget plans show that we will spend more money than we have coming into school, if things stay the same.
- £221,633 overspend April 2022 – March 2023,
- £376,777 overspend April 2023 – March 2024.
We needed to find ways to have more money coming into school and/or reduce the amount we spend.
Together, our plan worked
The Governing Board:
- increased class sizes from 30 to 32 pupils in years 3, 4, 5 and 6. Government funding increased.
- asked families to make a voluntary donation of £10, £15 or £20 for each pupil every month. Around 200 families made a donation each month.
- increase our self-generated income. Families used childcare and specialist clubs more than we expected.
School staff and representatives of the largest union in school have been consulted. None of us want to make these changes. All of us want to keep offering our pupils the same consistent, high quality education.
Parents helped us by making a donation
Please make a regular, monthly, voluntary donation of any amount that your family can afford.
Start a standing order with your bank as soon as you can.
Account details: Please check your email message or contact us email@example.com
Day of month: any to suit you
Frequency: every month
Reference: family name (or 'anon'), if you wish
Any donation is voluntary. There is no obligation or expectation on any family to make a donation. All pupils will be treated in the same way at school, irrespective of whether or not their family has made a donation.
Together, we can keep everything that makes our school excellent.