Should parents have to fund the gap in school resource budgets?

Parents are increasingly being asked to top up school finances due to budget pressures, according to two recently published surveys.

A survey conducted by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) reported that 10% of schools surveyed had asked parents to pay for textbooks. A further survey conducted by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) found that 51% of parents had been asked by their school to make financial contributions to help fund classroom resources.

Director of ATL Cymru, Dr Philip Dixon, remarked that: “The stark reality is that the budget squeeze means schools and colleges are increasingly forced to ask parents to help pay for resources and activities that support the learning of their children.”

Others have expressed concerns that the reliance on parents to pay for classroom resources and extra-curriculum educational trips may impact parents’ choice of schools and the quality of education their children receive as not every school has a pool of parents who can afford to contribute to school budgets.

Requests for funding have covered everything from arts and crafts materials to physical education equipment and even textbooks, which are a core learning material in the classroom. With reforms to qualifications and changing content in some textbooks, schools are facing a hefty bill to keep their shelves stocked with the latest textbooks, and are turning to parents to fill the gap in the budget.

School resources are necessary tools to deliver education in the classroom, yet the evidence is mounting to show that education funding is inadequate to provide the fundamental resources schools require.

This is why we call for proper funding of schools and in particular resource budgets. If you agree that our schools deserve to be able to resource their classrooms adequately without having to rely on extra funding from parents or teachers, please sign our statement here: http://www.resourceourschools.com