School funding remains a hot topic in the news and on the lips of parents. You may have noticed Parentkind making headlines recently thanks to our Annual Parent Survey findings. Check out the Guardian and the BBC for more.
Our survey hears from 1,500 parents of different backgrounds and circumstances across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We use it to gather a snapshot of what parents think about our schools and our children's education, to ensure their voice is heard in the debate.
What parents told us
Some of the key findings on school funding that have gathered media interest are:
- 43% of parents had been asked to donate to a school fund* The proportion of parents who donate to the school fund has increased to 36%
- An average of £11.35 is donated each month, an increase of £2.45 (28%) on the 2017 figure
- Although 45% donate less than £10 per month, 29% are now giving between £10 and £30, up from 21% in 2016
- 51% know how the donated money was spent
- 49% believe the pressures on school budgets have negatively impacted on their child’s education
- The cost-cutting measure considered most detrimental is schools reducing the length of the school week, where 84% of parents who say it’s been implemented believe it to have had a negative impact on their child’s education
- 26% have been asked to pay for school clubs, and 28% for sports days and concerts that used to be free
- 21% have been asked to supply essentials such as stationery, books, glue pens etc.
*The school fund is a well-established method for schools to request voluntary donations from parents, which is separate to the school’s core budget. It is distinct from the fundraising activities of PTAs or other parent groups.
The good news for PTAs
While figures like these can make for depressing reading, our members should also view this as an opportunity. As more and more parents are being asked to donate to their school fund, and the amount they are donating is increasing, parents and the contribution they make to their child's education has never been more crucial. Clearly Parentkind believes that PTAs offer a brilliant way for parents who are willing and able to do so to make a financial contribution, and so much more besides.. This is because PTAs are parent-led, independent charities that are transparent about how the money they raise benefits the school and every pupil within it.
Now’s the time to work with your head teacher or school leaders about reaching further into your parent community and deciding how the money your group raises is channeled back into the school. It’s partnerships like these that can strengthen home/school relations and highlight to school leadership the important role parents and the PTA play.
See more about our research from our Annual Parent Survey 2018, which contains links to an infographic and a full report.