School funding: How Hackney primaries turned to fundraising this year to pay for basic kit, refurbishments and trips

PUBLISHED: 12:31 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:31 14 October 2019

Fundraising at Gayhurst School's summer fair this year. Picture: Gayhurst School

Fundraising at Gayhurst School's summer fair this year. Picture: Gayhurst School


Primary schools in Hackney were forced to fundraise through summer fairs to pay for equipment, the refurbishment of facilities and extra-curricular activities this year.

Fundraising at Gayhurst School's summer fair this year. Picture: Gayhurst SchoolFundraising at Gayhurst School's summer fair this year. Picture: Gayhurst School

Jeremy Corbyn asked why schools were having to turn to fundraising to afford basic resources during Prime Minister's Questions in May.

Parents and pupils from across the country protested against school funding cuts outside Downing Street in July.

Headteacher of Jubilee School in Cazenove Norma Hewins said: "Everyone knows that all the schools are struggling with their budgets.

"This is a very important way of supporting schools.

"We want to maintain the arts. We want to do music and drama."

The money raised by the Jubilee Summer Fair, organised by the Jubilee Primary School PTA, and a non-uniform day contributed to the maintenance and upgrading of the school's assembly hall.

Mrs Hewins said the investment would help Jubilee continue to stage theatre productions, and ahead of the event she expected about £3,000 to be raised.

Headteachers and parent representatives from five other state primary schools in Hackney confirmed summer events to raise funds for children and facilities had been held.

Gregory Logan, head of school at Daubeney Primary School, told the Gazette: "Now that we're so strapped for cash we are raising money for extra-curricular activates, such as going to the beach, to give our children experiences."

Fundraising at Gayhurst School's summer fair this year. Picture: Gayhurst SchoolFundraising at Gayhurst School's summer fair this year. Picture: Gayhurst School

Mr Logan said the school had always put on a summer fair to boost community cohesion but the fundraising drive had become important now that the budget had been severely impacted.

This year's event was held on June 29.

A group of parents, carers and staff from Woodberry Down Primary School independently raised money to benefit children at the school.

Their summer fair was also held on June 29 and the group believe they matched last year's total of about £3,000.

Zahid Ali, member of Friends of Woodberry Down Community Primary School, said: "Our community came together to have fun and to raise money for the children at our school.

"This money ensures that all of the children can enjoy pantomime trips, arts and crafts supplies, anti-bullying and knife crime workshops and a new outdoor learning area."

Ed Wood, a member of a parents' body at Grasmere Primary School, which hosted a summer fair on July 6, said: "The lack of funding from the government is severely impacting the creative play element of children's development.

"The priority at the moment is raising money for two new playgrounds."

Jane Betsworth, headteacher at Millfields Community School and Children's Centre, said the main role of the school's summer fair, which had been running for the 30 years she has been working there, was to bring people together.

But she acknowledged times were "tough" and the £8,000 raised on June 29 would provide the opportunity to purchase "things the standard budget can't buy," highlighting funding cuts to special educational and additional needs.

Gayhurst School also held a summer fair on July 6 which raised a total of £8,000 at the time of publication.

Nicky Perez, from parent led group Community of Gayhurst School, told the Gazette: "The money raised goes towards funding swimming lessons, school trips, gymnastics and art classes, extra curriculum activities that we feel are essential to complete the education of our children and to provide support for our hard-working staff."

school and college funding for the next 10 years."

Cllr Anntoinnette Bramble, deputy mayor of Hackney, said: "The vast majority of schools in Hackney are good or outstanding, despite per-pupil funding falling by 8 per cent in real terms since 2010.

"With the government still to announce long-term funding for schools after it shelved controversial proposals in 2017, schools are unable to plan properly for the long-term.

"We're calling on the government to commit to inflation matched increases beyond 2021 so schools can plan budgets for the future and continue to give children across Hackney the best start in life."

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