Letter from the Headteacher and Chair of Governors
Each year we work hard to manage our budget to ensure every pound is well spent, but every year is increasingly more challenging. This April, the two schools combined received more money in our new budget due to increased nursery numbers, more pupils with SEND (Education Health and Care Plans) and changes to the local funding formula. However, increased staffing costs including pay, maternity/paternity pay and pension contributions are higher and greater than the funding increase.
With each staff departure, we review the structure to see if savings can be made. For example, in the last year, we have not replaced the Finance Manager or the Site Manager, with both roles now undertaken by the School Business Manager. The number of teachers has remained the same although we have more part-time teachers, which cost more as a class share than a single teacher. Leadership days are reduced, Music days are reduced and teaching assistants have increased in number due to more needs, more nursery pupils and the Wrap Club.
Staffing makes up around 77% of the school’s costs. The rest is spent on running the building and resources for teaching and learning. Ideally, we want to spend our money on things that have an impact and make a difference. To give you some examples, we budget for the following:
- Maths resources - £3,000
- Reading books - £5,000 (around 1 new book per pupil)
- History resources - £1,000 (similar amounts for other non-core curriculum areas)
- Swimming programme for Year 4 - £7,500 (statutory requirement)
- Energy Bills - £60,000
- Building repairs & Maintenance - £30,000
- Insurance (buildings, liability etc) - £27,000
Estimated figures for 2020/21 show a funding cut of £100,000 for Raglan on top of cost increases of a similar amount. If funding does not increase, then we will have to make some significant cuts of around £150,000 to balance the budget next April 2020
Charges for parents
Each year we review the charges set for parents and governors have agreed the following:
Nursery Fees - All pupils receive 15 hours of free Nursery provision. Some working parents qualify for an additional 15 hours via the government’s childcare scheme. Parents can pay for additional hours if they don’t qualify for the scheme or if they would like more hours. This fee is £5 per hour and will be frozen until April 2020.
Raglan Wrap Club - The school runs a non-statutory childcare club and fees are set out on our website. The school does not subsidise the club from public funds, but does pay for some pupils to attend from the Pupil Premium grant. The cost of running the club must be met by the fees charged. In 2018/19 this has been achieved, so governors have decided to freeze the fees at current rates until April 2020. However, the 10% discount will disappear from September due to a new booking and payment system being introduced.
School Meals - All Infant pupils are entitled to a free meal everyday at school and the cost of this is met by a grant to the school. The grant pays £2.30 per meal, the school currently pays £2.47 to the catering company. The shortfall is paid from the school’s budget. This is around £8,000 in costs.
Meals for Junior pupils are currently charged at £2.20 per meal and the school pays £2.47. The shortfall is around £13,000 per year and is met from the school’s budget.
The governors have decided to increase the charge for a Junior school meal to £2.35 from September 2019. This will bring the shortfall down to around £6,000 which will come from the school budget. This will be reviewed in April 2020 and the governors will also consider other catering options.
Clubs and Activities - The school runs an extensive programme of after-school clubs, some of which are free and supported by the sports premium and music grants and others are charged to parents at a flat fee of £25 for between 8-10 sessions per term. The money collected pays for the external providers and also the non-teaching staff who run clubs. Overall the money collected covers the costs so the fee will be frozen until April 2020.
Voluntary Contributions - We thank parents/carers for their support with voluntary contributions towards school trips and special workshops in school. Without your support, these can not continue. We do consider carefully the value of each visit or workshop so that the children have a positive and educational experience. Around £50,000 is given for trips and workshops which go some way to meeting the costs of around £65,000. The shortfall each year is growing, so future trips will be considered very carefully which may lead to a reduction in some year groups.
Raglan Schools Association - Thank you for your continued support of RSA events. The RSA focus their fundraising efforts on providing the extras that our budget cannot stretch to. The outdoor areas including the new trail around the field has provided new opportunities and added value to the children’s experiences and well-being. A big thank you to the committee and to everyone who has supported an event.
So whilst we have managed our budget well over the last few years, we continue to make efficiency savings and review our staffing structures. Future budgets without any additional funding will be more challenging and we await further announcements from the DfE and Treasury as to what level of challenge that will be.
Mr M Kelsey & Mrs A Williams
Headteacher & Chair of Governors