London schools are requesting financial contributions from parents to ease the pressure on squeezed school budgets, a new survey commissioned by London Councils has revealed. The YouGov survey of more than 1,000 London parents showed that 80 per cent are aware of funding pressures at their child’s school. 38 per cent had received a letter from the school alerting them to funding pressures and 35 per cent had been asked to make financial contributions.
63 per cent of parents expect the budget at their child’s school to be reduced even further in the future and 84 per cent of parents believe that if their child’s school budget were to be reduced, it would have a negative impact on the quality of education provided.
The survey also showed that two thirds of parents (66 per cent) agree that Free schools should be set up in areas in areas where there is demand for school places.
London parents were also asked about trust and accountability. 70 per cent think that councils should have powers of influence and intervention over free schools.
When asked for their views on careers advice and the value of technical qualifications, half of parents stated that they do not feel confident their child will receive a meaningful experience of the world of work by age 18. Only 4 per cent of parents would prefer for their child to take vocational qualifications than A levels.
Cllr Peter John OBE, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member with responsibility for schools, said:
“Our survey shows that London parents are very concerned about the impact funding pressures could have on the quality of their children’s education and are increasingly having to make financial contributions to schools.
“Paying for school activities or making regular monthly donations is not always easy for parents and it is unfair that they are being asked to stump up cash because the true cost of running schools is not being recognised by the government.
“This is a sign that government has not gone far enough to ensure schools can meet all the necessary demands on their budgets, which in London include the cost of providing support for the growing number of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) as well as higher salaries for teachers and support staff.
“London’s schools are the best in the country and we are concerned that the lack of adequate investment to cover real terms costs could slow down their success.
“Getting education right is vital to the growth of our economy, which is why we are committed to working with government to ensure appropriate levels of investment in schools in London and across the country in order to continue to drive up standards.”
London Councils estimates that the cost of meeting budgetary pressures for every school in England by 2019/20 would be £406 million nationally, including £99 million in London.