Yerbury’s Fundraising and How You Can Help
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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 in 2018, the initial focus was 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 started 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 for every child. 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 (£2.36), the school would receive over £50,000 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.
Yerbury has an annual budget of just over £2 million, 77% of which is spent on salaries in line with all public sector primary schools.
Each year, the government delegates funds to schools. Over the past decade, state schools in England have faced their worst decline in funding since the 1980s, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (Oct 2020). Some of the reasons for this include: the introduction of the National Funding Formula, the change in criteria for Pupil Premium with the roll-out of Universal Credit, unfunded increased pension and contribution costs, and funding increases not keeping in line with inflation.
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 £2.36 per day or £11.80 per week for 39 weeks of the year which is equivalent to £460.20, or 12 monthly payments of £38.35.
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. It isn’t right that schools are not funded enough, and this situation isn’t acceptable or sustainable. However, the children’s time is now, and we need to do what we can for them in the interim. The school continues to raise its concerns with the Local Authority who report these concerns to the Department for Education. It is important as many people as possible continue to raise this issue with their local MP – so do please write in to express your concerns.
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 £115,000 in 2020/21 to support specialist provision for the children in music and dance, and to buy resources and teaching and learning materials.
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 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 and the YPTA Treasurer, were invited to join this committee, as was the school-YPTA teacher lead, Liam Frost and the school fundraising officer at the time, Lorraine O’Keefe.
Since then, 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 forms the Yerbury Foundation Committee to allow continuity of their work on fundraising. The parent members of the committee are selected according to the Foundation’s terms of reference.
If you would like to get involved, please contact YerburyFoundation@yerbury.islington.sch.uk