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Voluntary Contributions

March 2018

Dear Parent/Carer

Voluntary Contributions 2018

We are writing to you with an update of the school’s financial position, and to ask you to consider donating a regular sum to the school via ParentMail (if you don’t already), to help the school fully provide for the excellent teaching and learning that we aspire to deliver to all our students.

The school receives funds from the state every year, in total around £10 million. You may know however that over the past few years that whilst the government has maintained spending levels on education, annual increments have not fully taken account of increased costs, mostly in respect of increased staff pension and national insurance obligations, which together with salaries represent the great majority of our total spend.

To give you an idea of the shortfall, we estimate we are experiencing multiple years where without savings, our expenditure would have been in the region of 4-5% higher than the income we receive. Unmanaged, our funding gap will reach anything up to £500,000 over time.

We have of course tried to manage this shortfall prudently. With the support of our staff and the Local Authority, we have reduced our yearly costs by staff restructure and an increase in some class sizes, allowing us to reduce manpower. Thus, without having to revert to staff redundancies, which so many schools have had to consider. Cost savings elsewhere, and increases in the number of pupils at the school have further allowed us make a plan to balance the books.  Sustained contributions from the FSA, and from you directly via voluntary contributions, have allowed us to maintain spend on teaching resources at levels we would not otherwise be able to do.

This financial year to date,  parents and carers have donated £33,205 through voluntary contributions, which represents around 10p per child per school day. You can find more information about our plans on the Fortismere website under ‘Our School/Financial Planning’.

We are far from alone.  Schools in London are among the hardest hit nationally; like us, many schools are also in financial deficit including many in Haringey. We await the detail behind the government’s adjustment to the proposed National Funding Formula, and overall schools budget, but we are advised it won’t make a lot of difference.

Governors, school leaders and staff are determined that the impact of less funding will make no difference to the outstanding quality of education your child(ren) receives at Fortismere, or to the care of our students. I hope you feel that we’re maintaining that commitment in your experience of the school. 

We do believe however that we must pursue every option we can to gather funding where we can to help fill the funding gap this year, hence this request. Any contribution that you as a parent or carer can make would be added to our teaching resources budget, which pays for non-staff departmental items like books, software and content licensing, printing and copying, trips and external speakers and educators. 

We are keen to stress that such contributions are not obligatory. Students’ experiences at Fortismere (for example, ability to participate in workshops, trips etc) will be in no way influenced by whether a voluntary contribution has been made by parents/carers. And of course, the FSA still continues to provide a vital source of funding, (an amazing c£70,000 last year) as well as marvellous community events alongside this initiative.

You’ll find detailed instructions below as to how you can contribute via ParentPay (PMX). You can increase or decrease the sum as you wish. Because the school is a charity, your payments are now also eligible for Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer. Gift Aid increases the value of your charity donations by 25%, because the school can reclaim the basic rate of tax on your gift – at no extra cost to you.

Please consider contributing if you can. We suggest a termly donation of £35 per family, per term but any contribution you feel you can make will be greatly appreciated. Even the equivalent of a few pence per day per child from a number of parents will make a real difference to our students’ learning. As always, email us at governors@fortismere.org.uk if you’d like to share your views on this or any other aspect of school life. 

Thank you for your continuing support.

Yours sincerely

Mark Chapman
Chair of Governors

Jo Davey &  Zoe Judge
Co-Headteachers

PS If you would be interested in making a larger donation or legacy and becoming one of our Fortismere Founders or have any useful contacts with businesses or funding organisations who might be interested in match funding your contribution or helping the school directly, please get in touch with Miriam Clark, our Head of Fundraising and Development at fundraising@fortismere.org.uk or call her on 0208 829 4402.

Instructions for making donations via ParentMail can be found here.