Our School is a truly outstanding place for children to grow, develop and learn. At Offham, we collectively pride ourselves on putting the child at the heart of everything we do, providing a rich and balanced curriculum, nurturing and supporting growth and opportunity for all.
As a body of Governors we are responsible for ensuring a high quality of teaching and learning is maintained across the school and also that the school’s premises and resources enable our children to grow, learn and develop year on year. More than anything we want to provide our children with the inspirational and advanced learning environment they deserve.
However, each year Kent County Council provide the school with just £6000 in capital funding to maintain and develop our site. As you will all appreciate, this presents a number of challenges.
This year, following several years of saving, we were finally delighted to be able to replace the entire school floor, laying a new surface in every classroom and corridor. The results are wonderful, creating a safer, calmer and more hygienic environment for all.
We would like to continue growing and developing our capital plan, updating our facilities year on year, seeing the impact and the benefit to our children now. We need your help to keep Offham Primary School the school in our area that everyone aspires to be part of. With this in mind, this year Offham Primary School is introducing an annual Governors’ Development Fund.
From this September, 2021, we are asking each of our families to contribute an annual donation of £100 to our new Governors’ Development Fund. This annual donation, which equates to just £17 a term, will help us update and revolutionise your child’s daily learning experiences. The fund amount is payable per family not per child.
£17 a term in 2021-2022 will enable us to:
The Governors’ Development fund can be paid annually in September as a lump sum or termly as a small more manageable amount. It can be paid via ParentPay, and has been set up as a payment item, or by direct debit annually or termly. Our Governor Fund bank details are:
Bank: Natwest Maidstone
Sort Code: 60-60-08
A/C No. 79300901
Account Name: Offham Primary School
As a voluntary contribution there is no obligation to pay, but if you can help us it will make a significant impact. Equally, if you would like to pay more towards helping us keep Offham outstanding we would naturally welcome this.
We have compiled a ‘frequently asked questions’ document, linked here to provide more information about annual school funds and invite you to take a look. If you find that this document does not answer your question about this initiative please feel free to contact the School Governors directly, via the school office and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
To find out more inform about the impact of school cuts on annual per pupil funding why not take a look at https://schoolcuts.org.uk/ and join us in a campaign to provide local authority schools with the funding they really need to be Outstanding in every way.
Thank you for your continued support and commitment to your child’s education,
With Kind Regards,
Mr Ollie Phipps
Chair of Governors, on behalf of the Full Governing Body
Frequently Asked Questions about our Governors’ Fund
What is a Governors’ Fund?
Schools may choose to set up and run a voluntary or Governors’ fund in order to supplement the public money allocated to the school. This money can be accounted for solely in the schools main accounts, by paying the money directly into the school’s main bank account or it can be accounted for in a separate Voluntary Fund. A Voluntary Fund is run by the governors of the school and held alongside a school’s public funds for the benefit of the children of the school.
What is the Governors’ Fund for?
The Governors’ Fund is made up of contributions made by parents so that the school can fund extra investment in the children’s education and learning environment. With funding pressures on school’s increasing annually this fund also provides security and safeguards to some of the facilities and opportunities our children currently benefit from.
Voluntary contributions are to advance the education of pupils at Offham Primary School through the provision of resources, equipment, teaching and facilities for education in addition to those provided out of public funds.
Why does the school need to ask for additional money as a Local Authority funded establishment?
Unfortunately the funding the school is allocated by the Government and Local Authority often falls far short of the funding actually required to continually update and improve the learning, support and facilities offer provided by the school.
For the last financial year (20-21) our school received just under £920,000 to run the school for the year. This included paying staff wages (we are by no means overstaffed, or are our staff overpaid) which cost 77% of our income, services and daily sundries at 20% of our income and just 3% of our income left over for teaching and learning resources and equipment.
Each year we also receive a capital contribution to maintain our building, this is £6,000 annually. Replacing the floor this year cost the school £34,000 and was paid for from saved capital funding over several years and monies from cutbacks made within our budget for staffing and daily running of the school.
Why are we introducing a Governors’ Fund now?
Recent events have increased the financial pressures on the school and we are relying on grants and donations increasingly each year to maintain the status quo. We would like to continue to make improvements to facilities and learning resources now so that the children currently in the school feel the benefit on their education. An annual Governors’ fund provides us with the opportunity to budget for facilities and equipment improvements as well as helping us to maintain current staffing levels, such as a Teaching Assistant working alongside the teacher in every class.
Do I have to pay the Governors’ fund?
We are required by law to point out to you that you are not legally obliged to make your contribution nor does failure to make a contribution mean that your child will be treated any differently as a result. There are some parents who genuinely cannot afford to contribute due to financial hardship. If you are in this position please arrange to meet with the School leadership team to explore options. Even a small contribution will make a difference.
Do other local schools have a Governors’ Fund?
Many of our local primary school partners, such as those on Kingshill and those in our surrounding villages have introduced voluntary school funds via annual donation over the past 10 years. Although they are not always called the Governors’ Fund, they are always used directly by the school to improve premises and facilities.
At £100 per family annually, we have kept our requested amount much lower than many other schools. We have researched the amounts other local Primary school’s ask and have deliberately tried to ask for an affordable amount from our families.
Will we still have the PTFA?
The school’s parent fundraising committee will continue to run a variety of events throughout the year. The money raised at PTFA events will hopefully continue to add a wonderful number of additional resources to our children’s educational and recreational experiences, decided upon by the PTFA committee in conversation with parents and the school leadership. Monies raised by the PTFA should not be used for facilities or staffing improvements or maintenance in the same manner as we would propose using the Governors Fund.
Will I still need to pay for school trips and special activities?
At the moment yes, we are not proposing using the Governors’ fund for these purposes at this time, however we will review the use annually.
Who ensures that the Governors’ Fund is being used correctly?
Voluntary Funds often provide schools with a substantial source of finance and, although the money is not classed as 'public', parents and other benefactors are entitled to the same standards of stewardship in their administration. Kent County Council (KCC) has a responsibility to ensure that school Governors run a safe and efficient system for the custody and control of their Voluntary Fund. Procedures must be in place which protect the interests of the beneficiaries for the Voluntary Fund (the children in the school) and safeguard the position of those running it. The KCC finance team will therefore audit the Governors’ Fund annually and will include not only an assessment as to whether the accounts are correct, but also a review as to whether the expenditure is appropriate.