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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Parents 'raise 73m for schools'
Parents and schoolchildren
Parental fundraising should not be underestimated, the NCPTA says
Parents' groups in England, Wales and Northern Ireland raised 73m for schools last year, a survey suggests.

The National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) said this was an increase of 4.5m compared with its survey last year.

The confederation said the money was increasingly being spent on essential facilities for schools.

It said PTAs often found they "could not refuse" a school's request to fund a supply teacher or books.

Reliant

The national confederation gathered responses from 1,000 schools across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in its survey.

In the past, money raised by PTAs tended to be spent on extra facilities or trips which enhanced learning, or on providing a school minibus, according to spokeswoman Margaret Morrissey.

"But now many PTAs are spending money on things such as computer suites and their installation," she said.

"The PTAs are used to head teachers asking for curriculum support. How can they refuse?

"Government funding for education has increased, but so has the amount of money schools need," she added.

She said the primary sector in particular was reliant on contributions from PTAs.

"Parents do get frustrated that their contribution is so important, but there is no pressure on them to give money to their schools if they cannot."

The NCPTA said on average its 12,700 member associations raised 5,400 per year for their schools and parents were often coming up with innovative ideas.

Generating cash

Among the more adventurous schemes it has recognised is Watlington Primary School's maths challenge.

Each class at the Oxfordshire school was given 10 and set the task of generating more money.

The children had much better ideas for how to raise money than the adults
Head teacher Angela Briggs
From an initial outlay of 90, which was donated by the PTA, 1,095 was generated.

Among the most successful ideas were a mouse mat business, car washing and busking outside the school gates.

Head teacher Angela Briggs said the process of teaching children to think about money was more important than the amount raised.

"It was about teaching children not to be selfish, and to think about what they did with money and the value of it," she said.

"The children had much better ideas for how to raise money than the adults - and we were thrilled with the amount of money raised."

She added that much of the money was donated to Action Aid, and was not spent on essential school facilities.

And Hampton Hill Junior School in south-west London raised 25,000 after parents came up with the idea of auctioning celebrity memorabilia, which it used to buy a new computer suite.

Following a small-scale auction at the annual quiz night, one parent set up a website which was accepted on eBay.

Signed photos of Colin Firth, Darcey Bussell's ballet slippers and a T-shirt autographed by Greg Rusedski were among the items sold.

And the NCPTA says the fundraising power of the traditional school fete should not be underestimated.

Some schools are drawing in local sponsors and in affluent areas the fete is known to raise between 10,000 and 20,000.

Government figures for England suggest schools raised 244m last year from parents, businesses and churches.




SEE ALSO:
Fetes raise big funds for schools
21 Jul 05 |  Education
Parents lobby for school cash
22 Oct 03 |  Education


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