Schools in Kirklees are being forced to hand out the “begging bowl” as education cuts bite, an MP has claimed.
On Monday evening she took to Twitter saying she wanted to ask the Education Secretary why schools are “having to ask parents for donations.”
Ms Sherriff told the Examiner that she had been approached by parents from two different schools, complaining about the situation.
She said neither wanted to be identified.
I wasn't called in Education Q's today but I wanted to ask the SoS why schools in my constituency are having to ask parents for donations— Paula Sherriff MP (@paulasherriff) September 11, 2017
One school that has admitted it has funding problems is Denby Dale First and Nursery School, which has asked parents for a £5 donation for stationery.
In a Facebook post, chair of governors, Mark Eaton, said the cash was needed “due to the cut in funding” and was entirely voluntary.
Speaking in a personal capacity, Mr Easton said it was a matter of public record that the small primary school was £114,000 in deficit.
Minutes of the governors’ meeting on the school’s website say they are “concerned that parents were unaware of the lack of basic resources in the classroom, and that teachers were purchasing these at their own expense.”
Hazel Danson from Kirklees National Education Union, formerly the NUT, told the Examiner some schools could be hiding their money problems from the public.
She said: “Kirklees schools are being significantly hit as a result of insufficient funding and we have seen an alarming rise in pupils being taught in larger classes.
“Nationally there have been cases of schools asking parents for donations to try and mitigate the substantial real terms funding cuts.
“I am not aware of any specific cases in Kirklees but it really wouldn’t surprise me, and I certainly know of teachers who spend their own money on resources and books to use in their classrooms.
“The impact of insufficient funding is affecting all areas of schools from purchasing basic equipment, trips, and extra-curricular activities to increased class sizes and fewer teaching and school support staff.
“Education cannot be run on the cheap.
“Children and young people need an education system that is fully funded to inspire and meet their aspirations.”
Ms Sherriff said: “It’s a sad fact that school budgets are seeing cuts for the first time in 20 years.
“The government’s attempted u-turn on the funding formula will not stop the cuts to budgets which the Institute of Fiscal Studies has said will mean a 4.6% cut between 2015 and 2018.
“The stark reality of this is that local schools are threatened with cuts to staff, subjects or school days, or passing the begging bowl around parents to bolster reduced funds.
“I’ve spoken out against these cuts in Parliament and I’ll keep fighting alongside local parents, pupils and teachers to protect investment in our schools.”