CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Parliament Hill School appeals to parents to help kit out new classrooms

School turns needs to donations to furnish and equip new buildings as budgets shrink

19 July, 2018 — By Tom Foot

A SECONDARY school is asking for help to pay for new test-tubes and microscopes, lockers and tables – “or even half a chair”.

The appeal for donations at highly-rated Parliament Hill Secondary School follows a string of other fundraising drives across schools in Camden which hinge on donations from parents.

In a message home, headteacher Sarah Creasey said the school had been left “without the money needed” to fully kit out new buildings on its site that are due to open later this year.

“Perhaps you could help us buy student lockers or mobile seating to watch your daughter’s and son’s drama, dance and music performance,” wrote Ms Creasey. “Even the cost of half a chair or part of a locker would be an amazing contribution and would help us reach our goal.” Suggested purchases include a Bunsen burner for £65, a microscope for £94.50, a text book at £25 and a chair for £17.

The total “Kite Fund” appeal is looking to raise £250,000.

The letter, from Ms Creasey and chair of governors Daniel Silverstone, said: “Our students will benefit significantly from this investment but, like many schools nationally, funding has decreased annually over the last few years. This trend is expected to continue, leaving us without the money needed to equip the new buildings to the standards we believe our students deserve.”

It added: “We understand that some families would find it difficult to make a donation and are grateful that so many families contribute in other ways.”

Last year, nearby William Ellis School made a similar appeal to parents – one note suggested if parents were feeling “flush” they could help with the £10,000 bill for refurbishing the toilets – while Camden School for Girls also asked for help furnishing a new building.

Gerald Clark, from Camden National Education Union, said schools were being forced to ask for help. “This is the kind of thing they have to do to keep one teacher in front of 30 children,” he said. “A lot of parents will respond to this, but a lot of parents will think the government should be paying for this.”

The union is organising another “Big Assembly” protest on Thursday, September 27 in Talacre Gardens, Kentish Town.

The DfE said: “We’re improving the funding system by making over £40billion of annual allocations for schools and high needs through new national funding formulae, which will distribute funding according to the needs of every school and area. We’ve announced major new investment in technical education and are investing £23billion in school buildings by 2021.”

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