Plea for parents to help repair cash-strapped primary

One junior school in Norwich has asked for volunteers to carry out general repairs to its buildings before term starts

Jasleen Mann

Avenue Junior School in Norwich is asking parents to carry out maintenance work over summer holiday because of funding pressures

A cash-strapped primary school has asked parents to come in over the summer to carry out maintenance tasks to ensure that it is ready for the new academic year.

Avenue Junior School, in Norwich, has asked for volunteers to bring their own tools and equipment to help with painting, gardening, cleaning and “other general repairs” on 25 August.

In a call for help on the school’s website, headteacher Deborah Dismore said: ‘‘As you know and I have communicated regularly throughout the year, the school is in a difficult financial position.

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‘‘As such, we have had to make substantial cuts to all areas of school expenditure.

“This includes the upkeep of the school. Can you help us to make the school ready for September?”

Lack of school funding

The appeal for help came as headteachers called for new prime minister Boris Johnson to honour his pledge to invest an extra £4.6 billion in schools by 2022-23.

Nania Poulson, chair of governors at Avenue Junior School, told Tes: “School budgets are very tight and, as a governing body, we have to be very diligent in managing resources. 

‘‘We must remain focused on the provision of high-quality education for our children. Put simply, our budget has to be spent on teaching and support staff and there is little left for school upkeep. 

‘‘The environment is very important for the children’s wellbeing and so it still needs attending to.”

She said the school had already restructured its staff to cope with funding pressures, and added: “We have to protect outcomes for children, so our focus is on managing the budget to protect our excellent staff and to continue to be able to run our staffing structure as it is. 

‘‘We have some high levels of challenge and need in the school and I think if the situation doesn’t improve then inevitably it will impact on staff wellbeing,which is unacceptable.”

Asked for her message to new education secretary Gavin Williamson, she said: “Give us the long-term security we need to deliver the best possible education to our children.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Since 2017, we have given every local authority more money for every five- to 16-year-old in every school and made funding fairer across the country.

“This year, under the National Funding Formula, funding for schools in Norfolk has increased by 3 per cent per pupil, compared to 2017-18. This is equivalent to an extra £21.8 million in total, when rising pupil numbers are taken into account.”

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Jasleen Mann

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