Sound familiar? Teaching union claims nearly a fifth of parents have been asked to fund their child's school

Whitburn Academy principal Alan Hardie.
Whitburn Academy principal Alan Hardie.

Almost a fifth of parents have been asked to make a regular financial donation to their child's school, a survey suggests.

In some cases, mums and dads have been asked to contribute more than £100 a year.

The findings, in a poll conducted by the NASUWT teaching union, also shows that many families are handing over money to pay for visits such as trips to museums or the theatre, and some are being asked to cover the costs of activities required as part of an exam course.

The survey follows just over a month after we revealed how families of children at Whitburn Academy had been asked for contributions of £10 a month towards school funds to ease financial problems.
General secretary Chris Keates argued that parents are facing escalating costs linked to their child's education.

The findings come amid concerns from school leaders and teachers about growing funding pressures in England's state schools.

In total, 18 per cent said that they had been asked to complete a standing order or direct debit for a regular donation.

Of these, around 23 per cent said the school had said it was to go to the school budget, more than half (51 per cent) had been told it was to enhance resources, a further 18% said they had been told it was to improve extra-curricular activities and 9% said the money was going to a specific school project.

The parents polled were asked how much the donation had cost them weekly, monthly or yearly.

Of those who gave the figure as a yearly format, 61% said that they had donated £10 to £50 a year, while around a fifth (20 per cent) said the contributions cost £101 or more a year.

The survey, published as the NASUWT meets for its annual conference in Manchester, also found that among parents who have not been asked to make a regular contribution, 13 per cent said that they have still made a financial donation because the school expects them to, while 16% said they gave voluntarily. The rest had not made a donation.

Overall, around 96 per cent of those polled said that they had paid for a visit related to a particular topic or subject their child was studying, while 23% had paid for an activity required as part of an exam course or qualification.

Just over a third (38 per cent) said they have made a contribution for their child to take part in after-school activities, lessons or clubs outside formal childcare.

Ms Keates said that "substantial financial pressures" are now being placed on parents and carers.