Yerbury’s Fundraising and How You Can Help
Yerbury Foundation was established in 2018 to safeguard and future-proof Yerbury’s ability to deliver a rich, creative and diverse school experience for all children, despite financial challenges. We raise money to help the school to continue to offer outstanding provision and school improvement projects that can’t be funded from the school’s state budget, seeking financial donations from parents and the local community members, developing partnerships with businesses, and applying for grant funding where available.
As a newly formed committee, a key focus has been setting up the team and structure, identifying priorities and building awareness and engagement with the parent body and the local community. As well as engaging parents, friends and the local community we are starting the longer term process of identifying and developing potential relationships with corporates, trusts and intermediaries. committee members meet regularly and devote significant amounts of time in-between meetings to move forward campaigns and activities.
Yerbury School strives to always deliver an excellent education for all its children. We continue to foster the long term development and personal achievements of every child. As with every school in the country, we are facing reductions in the real term money we receive from government. We want to take action in advance to ensure that we are continuing to improve the experience of our children.
As you are aware school meals in Islington are free. In the absence of this cost, if the parents of just one quarter of Yerbury children made a regular contribution equivalent to the cost of a daily school meal (£2.77), the school would receive over £60,000 a year.
Please be assured that this request is absolutely voluntary and confidential. The money raised will always be put towards ensuring that Yerbury children continue to receive an excellent education.
Meet the committee Yerbury foundation committee members
Yerbury Foundation Newsletter – Please click on the link below to see our latest edition newsletter.
Yerbury has an annual budget of just over £2 million, 85% of which is spent on salaries (in line with all public sector primary schools where the salary spend is 80-90%).
Each year, the government delegates funds to schools. For 2018/19, these funds will rise by only 0.5% which is significantly below the cost of inflation (currently at 3%).
In the ideal world, schools would not ask parents for any donations as state funding would be plentiful, and any initiatives that create better learning environments for our children would be encouraged and funded. However, in the current climate, we have to be realistic. In real terms, school funding (along with funding in most other public sectors), has been steadily declining in recent years with no sign of any significant increase. Yerbury and its Governing Body work hard to manage increasingly tight budgets with careful accounting, reducing costs that least impact on pupils, and seeking additional revenue streams and financial efficiencies. However, there is only so much cutting that can be done before our children’s school experience will be affected.
A creative, inspirational, inclusive and enjoyable school experience for all is fundamental to our values – and we want to preserve this.
Several parents first suggested the idea of a Foundation as a simple way to make regular financial contributions to the school. With all Islington schools currently benefitting from free school dinners, it was suggested that those who would ordinarily pay for these, might want to consider donating the equivalent money directly to the school. That cost being £2.77 per day or £13.85 per week for 39 weeks of the year which is equivalent to 12 monthly payments of £45.
This simple idea was developed and researched in the context of what other schools are doing. It was recognised that we could also try to seek to apply for more grant funding and that there are potential opportunities for partnerships with local businesses that we could explore. These threads came together to form the rationale for setting up the Foundation.
While the Foundation is new to Yerbury, fundraising for large-scale improvement projects is not new to our school. Examples of past generosity and incredible fundraising efforts of parents and the local community include the Q-Room and the playground.
Yerbury has been proactively fighting the proposed funding cuts, and will continue to do so. Our school staff, parents and governors have campaigned in the local press, joined the Fair Funding for All Schools campaign, attended demonstrations and lobbied politicians. We are also very clear about how Foundation funds will be used. Funds will NOT be used to top-up the state budget for items such as core staffing costs and essential school materials. Instead, it will provide the ‘extras’ that enrich our children’s experience and make a more enjoyable and inclusive school environment.
Cassie Moss is leading a project with other Islington Headteachers to collate information about all additional fundraising that schools are being forced to do to cover the shortfall in government funding.
Many primary and secondary schools across the country have established a Foundation or a donation mechanism to increase fund raising. Local schools such as Thornhill Primary School, Canonbury Primary School and William Tyndale have done this for many years, allowing them to cover various activities including: developing special art, music and IT provisions, making significant playground improvements, and supporting an inclusive annual residential farm trip for all year five pupils.
The strategic spending priorities for the Foundation are identified by the Governing Body and Headteacher and then discussed with the Foundation team members.
The Yerbury PTA (the registered charity) now has two sub committees – the Foundation and the YPTA Events Committee. The focus for the YPTA Events Committee is to deliver informal, inclusive events and initiatives that bring our local school community together in a fun, informal way, and often, in doing so, raise valuable school funds. The Foundation’s focus is primarily financial, looking to raise larger amounts of money through grants, partnerships with local businesses and direct financial donations from those in a position to give.
Absolutely not. There is no expectation for anyone to donate. All donations are entirely voluntary and confidential, and information on donations and donors will not be shared.
There are many ways that you can help, particularly by spreading the word about the Foundation and its activities.
The Foundation would like to raise £100,000 per year to support extra curricular activities at the school. This money could come from grants, corporate donations or individuals. In the first instance this will cover the cost of the specialist music and dance teachers. In future, this could cover additional enrichment activities as well as projects such as upgrading the school’s IT hardware and school facilities.
An annual summary of expenditure will be published as well as regular updates about all Yerbury’s fundraising efforts – grant applications, income generation and PTA fundraising – and how these efforts are helping the children at Yerbury.
Gift Aid is an income tax relief designed to benefit charities. If you’re a UK taxpayer, Gift Aid increases the value of your donations by 25% because the Foundation can reclaim the basic rate of tax on your gift at no extra cost to you. If you are planning to make a donation on our donation site, please make sure you tick the Gift Aid box to make your donation go even further.
Generally, it is not practical to choose specifically which project your money will fund. Some projects may be easier to get grant funding or sponsorship for, so will rely less on parent donations. Others will be harder to get grant funding or sponsorship and may need to be funded completely by direct donations. Your donations to the Foundation account will be directed to areas where they are most needed.
Virgin Giving charges 2% commission which is lower than some of its competitors (eg Just Giving at 5%)
In September 2017, the school Governing Body Finance Committee appointed two parent governors, Rosemary Marsh and Jessica Heine, and the Head Teacher to set up a Working Group to look into fundraising strategies for the school in concert with the YPTA. The two co-chairs of the YPTA, Mark Benson and Laura Heath, were invited to join this committee, as was the school-YPTA teacher lead, Liam Frost and the school fundraising officer, Lorraine O’Keefe.
This Fundraising Working Group has worked closely with the Governing Body, Senior Leadership Team and the YPTA to scope out the remit, priorities and operational matters to develop the concept and make it happen. This Working Group will form the initial Yerbury Foundation Committee to allow continuity of their work on fundraising. Going forward, the parent members of the committee will be selected according to the Foundation’s terms of reference.
If you would like to get involved, please contact YerburyFoundation@yerbury.islington.sch.uk