Schools 'should be bold enough to ask parents for money'

Former government adviser tells the Academies Show his 'unthinkable thoughts' about schools asking parents for money

parents, charges, donations, money, funding, schools, andrew carter

Schools should be “bold enough” to look at asking parents for more money, a former government adviser has said.

A session at the today's Academies Show heard concerns about school funding levels.

Sir Andrew Carter, who chaired a government review of initial teacher training and is chief executive of the South Farnham Educational Trust, told the event that schools cannot continue “adding on” to what they are currently doing.

He told delegates: “Unthinkable thoughts I am going to think now: what should parents have to pay in your school for the additional things that you add?

“Now, people will say that’s a terrible thing to say, but it’s what we’re doing anyway in a roundabout way.”

He said that many schools charge for trips, music tuition and clubs, and schools were being asked to do more and more.

“Sometimes I think we have to be bold enough to say ‘no’ and be bold enough to look to parents for the money,” he added.

'Penalising the poorest children'

His comments were challenged by Paul Luxmoore, the executive headteacher of Coastal Academies Trust in Thanet, Kent.

He said: “Can I state the bleeding obvious, that if we charge parents then the children of Farnham will get a much better quality education than children in Thanet. It’s ridiculous. It’s just unfair.”

In response, Sir Andrew said it was unfair if children were not getting a reasonable education in a school.

“Parents pay for their schools anyway through their taxes,” he said. “A simple sum for this gentleman over here: if every child in his school paid £1 a day, you would have £60,000 a year more. That gives you two members of staff to teach. It’s as simple as that.

“Or, you go along struggling. Governors who find it overwhelming go, and the thing becomes a spiral down. We have to ask either central government for more money, or we have to ask the people who pay central government directly for the money.”

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