A busy coffee morning

Lots of great ideas and discussion at this morning's Parent Forum coffee morning! Further details and updates to follow.

Parent forum Feb 2017

Parent Forum finance meeting - 2nd December 2016

King David School Parent Forum - Friday 2nd December 2016

School Funding: how it works

Steve Langford, Headteacher & Simone Bryant, Chair of Finance Governors

Welcome by Eman Penny, co-chair of the Parent Forum.

KD is a Voluntary Aided School and receives money from the following sources:

  • Majority (around 95%) from local authority for staffing, learning resources, utilities etc.
  • Significant annual contribution from the Birmingham Hebrew Congregation, the Foundation body which owns the land, buildings and some responsibilities and freedoms in setting policies and appointing governors. This money pays for things like: Jewish Studies (dual track), kosher kitchen, festivals, events.
  • Donations are also received from Central Synagogue
  • Capital projects are funded by applying to funds within Local Authority and are specifically allocated to capital works e.g. the new fencing currently being installed is financed by the CST and substantial upgrade to Nursery.

What has changed and why is the situation now worse?

  • 3 years ago school budgets nationally were frozen as an austerity measure by the Government. At the same time pensions and National Insurance contributions were made additional costs to the school, meaning costs were higher but income was static.
  • Specific funding for a staff member to provided one to one support for a child came to an end as the child left Y6.
  • Changes to nursery funding meant that our full time free nursery was only funded half time and this led to a reduction in those taking up places and therefore reduced income.

What measures have been taken?

  • Redundancy process 2 years ago resulting in the loss of 1.5 Teaching Assistants.
  • Ending of ‘withdrawal’ groups for those children requiring additional stretch in academic subjects
  • Fewer lunchtime supervisors and canteen staff
  • Reduction in outdoor education and some music provision
  • Fundraising efforts
  • Huge determination to minimise the impact of all of this on the quality of education at KD.

Where we are seeking funds

  • Jewish Community in Birmingham - a letter has recently gone out to the 1000 members of the Jewish Community who are registered at all four Synagogues across the Midlands, asking them to support our 50th Year Anniversary appeal. We must be mindful that this group are approached for funds for many other things within the Jewish Community including Andrew Cohen House (the old people’s home), the Synagogue buildings themselves, the Jewish Cemetery etc..
  • Jewish Community in London - Chair of Finance Governors, Simone Bryant, has been meeting with potential benefactors in London
  • Interfaith trusts and other non-Jewish funds - all of these applications require work. Simone does all of this work voluntarily and can only do so much.
  • Parents & Stakeholders - our contributions matter hugely. Currently about 40 out of 130 sets of parents are donating and so far donations amount to about £11k - we are hugely proud and grateful. 

Opportunities

  • MATCH Funding -
  • REGULAR giving - a commitment to make regular monthly donations of whatever amount the family can afford is the best way to give. This way school can plan and it is less time consuming to administer than ad hoc cash payments. This is the sustainable route!
  • The best way to give: If you are able, please set up a monthly standing order via My Donate on the school website. Every contribution genuinely counts… it builds our strength as a community, it increases our chances of achieving funds from external sources and every penny goes towards our children’s education.
  • If you can’t: It is absolutely understood that not everyone is able to contribute in this way. This is not a private school and your child’s education is in no way conditional on a contribution. No member of the teaching staff, including Mr Langford, knows who is or isn’t making a contribution.

Questions & Answers

Can we be doing more fundraising events in school such as toys and book sales, workshops, coffee mornings, film nights, summer fayres etc.. to help raise regular small amounts of money?

Yes… last year was a very busy year for the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) with celebrations marking 50 years of the school on its current site. Those who ran it have understandably stepped down after many years of service and new parents are needed to form a group.

The PTA and Parent Forum (PF) have distinct roles with PTA focusing on fundraising and PF on facilitating communication between school and parents. If you would be interested in getting involved in either group, please do get in touch: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What about funds such as Jewish Heritage, Lottery Fund, Local mosques or Muslim funds etc..

All great ideas. There is a limitation of how much time Simone can spend on this. If anyone would be able to offer some time to help with funding bids and applications, that would be greatly appreciated. Please do speak to Simone or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What’s the wish list? What would be done with these funds if they could be raised?

Currently the aim is to keep managing as we are without further cuts. The children used to benefit from outdoor education taught by Mrs Elsom, a rich outdoor education programme including planting and learning about nature, but her time had to be taken off that to fill gaps elsewhere in the timetable. This, together with strong support at lunchtimes, playtimes and musical provision, plus the small groups for children who need extra support or for those more able are the sorts of enhancement that we’d like to be able to offer our children in order to give them a really thorough, deep and broad education. We are not happy to aim for giving them the minimum. With more funding the cuts made to teaching assistants could also be reversed. 90% of the school budget is spent on staffing.

Exactly where does my donation go? What is it spent on?

Donations from parents go into the KDRES School Fund because this is the best channel where funds can be accepted into school. The School Fund and the KDRES fund were amalgamated to streamline the system and so that we could take advantage of Gift Aid as KDRES is a charity. Every school is required to teach RE and for KD, 50% of our spending on the RE Curriculum used to come out of the money from the Local Authority but the Local Authority budget can no longer support as much of the 50% as in previous years. Hence the philanthropic support from the Jewish community is covering more than the 50% required, whilst parental contributions can be allocated to enhance the School Budget on the secular educational enrichment.

All donations to the KDRES school fund ease the pressure on spending.

Who is in charge of the budget?

Mr Langford puts together the budget with the support of the school Business Manager, Angela Plotnek in the school office and this is presented to Finance Governors for approval. The budget is brought to the full Governing Board for ratification.

Am I right that the opportunity for match funding is key, so if nearly all parents contributed, even at £1 a month, that would still increase our chances of winning funding bids?

Yes! We encourage parents to give whatever they are able… of course more is better but £1 a month has great value in the support it shows as well as increasing our proportion of those contributing, which in turn helps us win more funding.

Can I give a lump sum and if so, how much should I give?

We ask those paying by standing order to give £5 per week throughout the year which is equivalent to £260. Please give as much as you can - it really is a personal decision how much you are able to give.

I am so disappointed in a country where I pay my taxes and then again have to put my hand in my pocket to fill the gaps. But I will. Yes… agreed. And thank you.

How are the school staff being looked after through this period? It must be tough.

Mr Langford and Governors take every opportunity to express their support and appreciation to our staff who remain committed and determined. It is not easy to have to take on additional duties on top of existing roles. Occasional messages from parents expressing their gratitude are enormously helpful and can be emailed to Mr Langford.

Thank you all. Please give what you can and spread the word.

Any questions please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or in total confidence Chair of Finance Governors, Simone Bryant: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Parent Forum Coffee Morning

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Parent Forum coffee morning. The notes from the discussion will be posted here soon, along with updates on the actions taken as a result.