Parents divided over £1 levy to save teaching job

Cash-strapped village school needs donations or a baby boom to balance its ailing budget

BY FRAN ABRAMS

Education Correspondent

Parents yesterday faced up to the prospect of paying £1 a week to prevent the loss of a teacher at their children's school.

Outside the gates of Welford and Sulby Endowed School, a 114 pupil primary school in rural Northamptonshire, there was some anger but also support for the school's governors.

Jenny Raisbury, whose six-year-old son Ben attends the school, said she had promised to pay the money if the majority of parents agreed. "I don't object if it will keep the school going as it is. But I don't think we will get full support from all the parents. It also raises the problem that if it's £1 this year, what will be it next year?"

Kim Furnell, who has two daughters at the school, said the request was an indictment of national education policies. "I object very strongly in principle to being asked to contribute to what is supposed to be a free education service", she said. "But when your child's welfare is at stake, principles come second."

As reported in yesterday's Independent, the school's governors have given parents a week to decide whether to contribute to a voluntary levy in order to raise £4,500. They have also decided to do without £2,000 worth of supply-teaching cover and have asked the Parents' Association to raise a further £1,500. Many schools have been forced to make tough decisions this year after the Government decided not to fund the teachers' 2.7 per cent pay rise.

Inside Welford and Sulby yesterday, the chairman of governors, the Rev Richard Cattle, was dealing with a stream of media inquiries. The governors have not sought publicity - it was a parent who approached the press - but they hope it may bring financial relief.

Rev Cattle, who is also vicar of St Mary's Church across the road, explained their dilemma. Eighty-five per cent of the school's total budget goes on staff costs, most of it on paying one part-time and five full-time teachers. There are also two part-time classroom assistants, one administrative assistant, three lunchtime supervisors and two cleaners. The remaining £20,450 must cover everything from toilet rolls to grass- cutting. The £1,500 set aside for maintenance will not last long if there is a spate of vandalism.

Each enrolment to the school eases its plight and Mr Cattle is in a good position to keep an eye on the birth rate in the village. If 10 new pupils came through the door the problem would be solved, he said. Two years ago the school role was relatively high and £20,000 was saved by the end of the year. Last year, this figure was reduced to £8,000 and this year there will be a shortfall of more than £7,000.

Opposite the school is the home of Lord Boardman, former chief secretary to the Treasury under Ted Heath, who has lived in the village for 40 years. He believes the blame for the crisis cannot be attributed to the Government. He suggested that Labour local authorities were using school budgets to make a political point.

"The Conservative opposition on the local council put forward a budget which would have given increased expenditure to education. As far as I can see, the cuts aren't made where they will do the minimum damage, but where they are politically most sensitive", he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing