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Voluntary Contributions

January 2019

Dear Parent/Carer

Voluntary Contributions 2019 -20

As has become customary, 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). This is 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, currently a sum over £10 million.  You may know however that recently school incomes have not fully taken account of increased, mostly staff, costs. To give you an idea of the shortfall, a recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates a loss of 8% of per-pupil school funding over the last decade – in our case that’s a loss of about £1m we’ve had to deal with.  Contrary to some recent news stories about school funding, our year on year budget continues to decrease.

We have of course continued to manage this shortfall prudently.  With the support of our staff and the Local Authority, we have increased the school roll and class sizes, reduced our staff numbers and made cost savings elsewhere to allow us to balance the books.  This without having to revert to redundancies, which so many schools have had to consider. 

Sustained contributions from fund-raising events, 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. Last year, parents and carers donated £47,510 through this voluntary contribution scheme. Thank you.

Governors, school leaders and staff are determined that the impact of less funding will make no difference to the outstanding quality of education your children receive at Fortismere, or to the care of our students.  We hope you feel that we’re maintaining that commitment in your experience of the school.  Budgets remain acutely stretched however.  Any contribution that you can make will 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.  Last year, for instance, the Philosophy department was able to purchase revision booklets for every A level student and Drama was able to offer several complimentary theatre trips, an AIDS Awareness drama workshop as well as Oscars ceremony trophies.

We are keen to stress that 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. 

You’ll find detailed instructions attached as to how you can contribute via ParentMail (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 £50 per family, per term but any contribution you feel you can make will be greatly appreciated.  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

Zoe Judge and Jo Davey                                                     Mark Chapman          

Co-Headteachers                                                                Chair of Governors

PS If you would be interested in making a larger donation or have any useful contacts with businesses or funding organisations who might be interested in helping the school directly, please get in touch with Maria Demetriou, our Head of Communications, Fundraising and Development at mdemetriou@fortismere.org.uk or call her on 0208 365 4402.

Instructions for making donations via ParentMail can be found here.