Parent Voluntary Donations
We are extremely proud of our school community and of the achievements of all of our students. The improvements to and success of St Birinus School over a number of years are testimony to the partnership between home and school and your ongoing support as parents. Thank you.
You will be aware that the success of the school has been during a period of considerable financial constraint within the education sector. We have worked really hard, over a number of years, to provide outstanding educational opportunities for our students at a time when there has been an estimated 8% real terms reduction in spending per pupil over the last four years, as estimated by the Institute of Fiscal Studies. To put this in context, this amounts to circa £388 per pupil or £329,000 reduction to our overall school budget each year. This real-terms cut is a result of inflationary pressures being faced by schools during a period when the cash funding per pupil provided by the government has remained flat. It is incontrovertible that schools are expected to do more with less every year.
From time to time, parents have contacted us to ask how they might be able to offer their support and we have encouraged families to write to their local MP to advocate for improved funding for the school system. Many families support the work of the St Birinus PTA which fundraises for the school as well as hosting events which bring the school community together. We are very grateful also to have benefited from some unsolicited and generous donations from St Birinus School families. However, such is the ongoing and increasing nature of funding pressures, we have now decided to write and ask for your support.
One of the ways which would help us to continue to invest in school improvements is through the introduction of a voluntary parental contribution. We are therefore following the precedent set by a great many other schools across the country by inviting you to consider making a voluntary contribution to the school. Funds raised will be used to support a range of projects, including improved IT provision, updated classroom equipment, and a new minibus for use by both St Birinus School and Didcot Girls’ School.
Additionally, we are raising funds for Didcot Sixth Form to refurbish a classroom at St Birinus School as a university-style library with good quality chairs, desks with charging sockets and lamps in a well-furnished and light-filled room. This will provide our sixth form students with much-needed space for private study. We would be extremely grateful for any donations towards this project.
Should you wish to make a donation there are a number of ways to do this:
- by choosing to donate a sum of money each month by setting up a standing order. Please do so online using the school’s bank account information included on the standing order form attached to this letter and include your surname and initial as the reference. If you do set up a standing order please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org in order that we can identify and account for your contribution easily. It would be helpful if you could include "SBS Donations" as the narrative in the subject header of your emails. If you prefer, you can simply complete the attached form and return it to the main reception of the school marked for the attention of the Finance Office
- by ParentPay
- by cash payment: you can do so directly at reception where you will be issued with a receipt
- by cheque payment: cheques should be made out to Ridgeway Education Trust and sent to St Birinus School marked for the attention of our Finance Office.
All donations, whether a one-off payment or a monthly contribution, can be Gift Aided which means that the government adds an additional 25% of the value of the donation to the school in tax relief. This is applicable as long as the donor has paid at least as much in income tax or capital gains tax in the same tax year as the school will claim back in Gift Aid. Please indicate if you would like to Gift Aid your donation by completing and returning the attached Gift Aid Declaration Form when making your donation. We would encourage you to Gift Aid if possible as the additional 25% makes a significant difference to the school at no extra cost to yourself. All donations will be kept private and the identity of parents protected.
Mindful that some families have daughters at Didcot Girls’ School as well as sons at St Birinus School, we ask you to decide whether you would like to make a contribution to one school or the other, or to divide your contribution between the two. If you do not specify or tell us otherwise we will assume any contributions made are for the school that you are sending the payment to.
Please note that our request is for an entirely voluntary contribution. We are sensitive to the pressures on families in challenging financial circumstances and we respect that a contribution at this time might not be possible.
We do hope that you appreciate the spirit in which this letter is written. Any donation, however small, will be hugely appreciated. In the meantime please also be assured that we are always looking at creative ways to use the funds we do receive as effectively as possible at a time of ever-increasing budget pressures.
John Marston, Headteacher Stephen White, Chair of Governors Rachael Warwick, Executive Headteacher