A STATE school hopes to raise £85,000 in parent donations and has said 'even £10 per month' will benefit pupils.

Lord Williams's School in Thame, Oxfordshire's largest school, has ramped up its fundraising drive with a leaflet and video asking parents to set up regular payments.

The outstanding-rated academy, which teaches 2,107 pupils at secondary level, launched the parent campaign last year after saying government cash is not enough to meet rising costs.

A newsletter sent by headteacher David Wybron in May warned parents of a 'looming financial crisis' caused by increasing pension costs, claiming funding has been 'cut by eight per cent in real terms' between 2017 and 2019.

He wrote: "We are struggling to cover the basics.

"We need your help more than ever to move forward with our plans to improve the school environment and the teaching and learning experiences that take place within it.

"The students at Lord Williams’s deserve the best."

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The letter encourages parents to set up direct debit payments, adding: "Even if you can only give £10 per month, this is the equivalent of four coffees that you might be prepared to give up and instead donate the money to the Annual School Fund."

As an incentive, parents who donate will be invited to exclusive events and alumni talks, the letter adds.

Last year Mr Wybron told the Oxford Mail he was 'uneasy' about asking for donations, but that the school had to take measures to avoid 'devastating' impact.

The Oxford Times:

David Wybron (file image)

A new leaflet produced by the school states that the Annual School Fund will focus on three projects - £30k to create a sixth form study area, £15k to upgrade classroom IT equipment, and £35k to buy a 'canteen pod' with seating.

It adds: "We are so grateful to everyone who makes a gift to the school. Every contribution makes a real difference to the lives of students."

The academy has also released a three-minute video featuring staff, pupils and a parent governor, in which Mr Wybron discusses 'huge financial challenges' and 'ageing facilities.'

A parent governor says in the video, which was produced by the school's media department: "We would really encourage you to dig deep and donate to the school and your children."

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The leaflet states that donating £10 per month for a year could cover the cost of seven new common room chairs, while £40 per month would pay for a fold-away seating bench for the lower school canteen.

Although the Department for Education has repeatedly said the government is investing more money than ever into education, many Oxfordshire schools say it is not enough to counter increases in staffing costs, inflation, pensions, National Insurance payments, and increasing needs of pupils.

Last week the Witney Partnership of Schools, a network of 17 schools in and around Witney, wrote to parents about 'real terms cuts' to education funding.

The letter said cuts to other children's services had also had a 'knock-on impact in schools,' as they are having to fill the 'gaps' once provided by other services.

On Tuesday the Oxford Mail revealed how Wheatley Park School might send children home an hour earlier on Fridays, to save money by reducing staffing requirements.