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London parents increasingly stumping up cash to support schools

  • By Gemma Kappala-R...

London schools are requesting financial contributions from parents to ease the pressure on squeezed school budgets, a new survey commissioned by London Councils has revealed.

London Councils’ YouGov survey of more than 1,000 London parents showed that 80 per cent are aware of funding pressures at their child’s school. 38 per cent had received a letter from the school alerting them to funding pressures and 35 per cent had been asked to make financial contributions.

55 per cent of London parents who responded said they were being asked by schools to pay for activities more often than previously due to the impact of funding reductions.

The survey also showed that 63 per cent of parents expect the budget at their child’s school to be reduced even further in the future and 84 per cent of parents believe that if their child’s school budget were to be reduced, it would have a negative impact on the quality of education provided.

Central government has recently announced an extra £1.3 billion in 2018/19 and 2019/20 for school funding, but London’s schools will receive a lower proportion of the new money than any other region in the country.

67 per cent of schools in London will receive the minimum (0.5 per cent per pupil) funding increase in 2018/19, compared with 35 per cent of schools across the rest of England.

The National Audit Office has said that in 2018/19, schools will experience additional cost pressures of 1.6 per cent. Only 27 per cent of London schools will receive enough extra funding to deal with these cost pressures, leaving 73 per cent needing to make cuts to balance their books.

Cllr Peter John OBE, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member with responsibility for schools, said: 

“Our survey shows that London parents are very concerned about the impact funding pressures could have on the quality of their children’s education and are increasingly having to make financial contributions to schools.

“Paying for school activities or making regular monthly donations is not always easy for parents and it is unfair that they are being asked to stump up cash because the true cost of running schools is not being recognised by the government.

“This is a sign that government has not gone far enough to ensure schools can meet all the necessary demands on their budgets, which in London include the cost of providing support for the growing number of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) as well as higher salaries for teachers and support staff.

“London’s schools are the best in the country and we are concerned that the lack of adequate investment to cover real terms costs could slow down their success. Getting education right is vital to the growth of our economy, which is why we are committed to working with government to ensure appropriate levels of investment in schools in London and across the country in order to continue to drive up standards.” 

London Councils estimates that the cost of meeting budgetary pressures for every school in England by 2019/20 would be £406 million nationally, including £99 million in London.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Click here to download a PDF of the survey report.

Read our extended web content with data visualisations

• London Councils represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all of its member authorities regardless of political persuasion. It also runs a number of direct services for member authorities including the Freedom Pass, Taxicard and Health Emergency Badge. It also runs an independent parking appeals service and a pan-London grants programme for voluntary organisations.
• YouGov conducted this survey on behalf of London Councils for the fifth year running. The total sample size of this study was 1,030 parents of children aged 5-16 living in Greater London and fieldwork was undertaken between 24th August and 7th September 2017. The data has been weighted to be representative of the London population by gender, ethnicity, social grade and inner and outer London location.