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Bexley schools asking parents for money, says councillor

PUBLISHED: 15:01 13 November 2018

The council has joined forces with 74 other local authorities. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

The council has joined forces with 74 other local authorities. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

Cash-strapped Bexley schools have been writing to parents asking for money for supplies, according to a councillor.

It comes after the Government announced an emergency £400m would be available to pay for “little extras” such as books and pens that schools have been struggling to buy.

Chancellor Philip Hammond made the announcement as he set the budget.

Bexley Labour leader councillor Daniel Francis said he was still concerned that school’s budgets were at breaking point.

“We are increasingly concerned about begging letters being sent to parents. Certainly, from my children’s school we received a survey asking if we were willing to make contributions to the schools to help buy books and stationary for our children’s education.

“In last week’s budget the government announced one-offs for what were extras, but these appear to be the same times that schools are surveying to see whether we would be able to contribute for them to purchase.

“Budgets are looking more perilous year on year; do you share these concerns?”

Council leader Teresa O’Neill said: “Obviously there was an extra amount last week in the budget, we don’t know because we have to wait for the figures how much will come to Bexley and to our schools. As always we will be working with our schools in partnership.”

School heads in Bexley are set to meet next week to discuss their budgets.

Studies have shown nationally that more than half of school staff have spent their own wages on essentials.

Charities have said schools are in dire need of funding, warning that one-off handouts won’t solve the crisis.

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union the NAHT, said: “The average payment to a primary school will be £10,000 but primary schools have seen their budgets cut by an average of £45,000 since 2015. In secondary, the cuts have been even more dramatic.”

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