At Parent Voice the parents asked me to be very plain about how school is affected by non-payment of contributions… so… here it is…
It’s not just CMPS that ask for support… all schools try to use a BIG EXPERIENCE to immerse children and motivate their learning. Sadly, schools simply can’t afford this in their normal budget. We have two options, try to get extra help to go to the places we are learning about first hand or just look at pictures and listen to videos on the internet. You can see first hand, with Sea School, the value of immersing the children in an environment which will bring the learning to life. This however, is something we choose to try and provide in addition to the curriculum experience, we cannot subsidise it from our budget. The voluntary contribution is school offering parents a choice of the type of experience their children have at school.
We rely on parent contributions.
What do we need help with?
Swimming generally costs the school between £2000 and £3000 per year due to travel costs, pool hire and a shortfall in contributions.
Trips can cost the school between £200-£500 pounds each depending on contributions.
We don’t generally ask for contributions for Sporting trips where we ask your child to take part but it costs us travel and entry to the event. We can meet this cost through the additional sports premium.
Clubs are not funded through the school budget and rely on payment to resource them.
What if you don’t pay? It is a VOLUNTARY contribution after all!
We have to call it voluntary because we cannot exclude children from our curriculum. If families don’t pay they have to go on trips even though they haven’t paid – or no one goes. These are the rules which govern us. We cannot and would not individually penalise a child’s education.
So, if parents choose not to help us we, in turn, have two choices…
- We cancel trips and the children have to work on a more basic experience based in the classroom.
- We continue to give the children the life skills (like swimming) and BIG EXPERIENCES to motivate learning and create a deficit in a budget line.
Creating a deficit in a budget line means money has to be taken from somewhere else in the budget. For Combe Martin this means the materials we teach with; art supplies, sand, paint, display paper, general maintenance, replacing broken equipment (tables etc), replacing ageing computer equipment or not being able to have teaching assistants in every class.
We all have challenges these days and at school we have to balance great opportunities to enthuse learning and paying the bills – just like everyone. We cannot set a deficit budget overall! Therefore we RELY on parents to help us.
Please have a BIG THINK about not helping with voluntary contributions. You do pay in the end… it’s just in the quality of the provision we can offer your child. This also is true for non payment of Tiddlers fees, school dinners, club fees, residential visits etc etc… it all comes from ‘one pot’ and we want to use that to educate your children.
Thank you for the long read. If you have questions please try and come to the next Parent Voice. Finally, thank you to the families who continually support school – sometimes you miss out even though you are willing or able to help. That is very much appreciated.
If you are in receipt of Free School meals then you should approach school to enquire if any assistance is available through Pupil Premium.