The planned shake-up of school funding means many head teachers may need to rely more and more on their own fundraising activities.
Teachers unions claim the new National Funding Formula sets the basic level of funding too low and it has been calculated that 98% of schools will face a funding cut for every pupil. Interim General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Malcolm Trode, sums up the potential problem as “the government is trying to slice up a cake which is too small”.
The changes have prompted Grofar, the popular careers guidance management solution, to develop a specially designed platform to help schools reach out to their local communities and bolster their fundraising efforts and access valuable services.
Managing Director James Robertson explains: “Our new ‘Community Heroes’ platform is essentially a funding and pledging service to help schools communicate with the local business community, parents, alumni and any other potential sources of funding and services. Whether it’s support for one-off pledges such as a fund-raising event, or a more significant project such as a campaign to fund a new playground, ‘Community Heroes’ will reduce the headache of fundraising for schools and help to give children the best possible opportunities.
“We’ve developed this platform to provide primary and secondary schools with the resource to build a powerful support network. Let’s not forget that being part of a community and engaging with that community is a really important part of a child’s overall education. ‘Community Heroes’ is a tool to help schools do that”.
The platform launch forms the focus of Grofar’s presence at Bett, the world’s leading education technology event, which begins at ExCel in London today (25 January).
“We are so confident that this will help schools to raise funds”, adds Robertson, “that if the app hasn’t paid for itself within the first 12 months, we’ll refund the upfront cost. It starts at just £249 for primary schools though, so I’ve absolutely no doubt that this will very quickly prove its worth and help schools through some potentially challenging times. The schools we’ve spoken to are already incredibly receptive to this idea”.
The platform includes a storyline for each fundraising initiative to offer a clear measure of success and to give recognition to all those who offer support. There will also be a ‘Community Heroes’ badge provided to funders, which can be placed on their websites by way of public recognition.
James Robertson says: “If the government does push ahead with its proposed new funding formula, we’re not suggesting ‘Community Heroes’ will solve the problems that this may throw up. But the schools we’ve spoken to have told us, loud and clear, that this idea will really help them to bring focus to their fundraising and provide them with access to valuable services at a time when a concerted effort could well make the difference to the future prospects of their pupils”.
‘Community Heroes’ is part of a broad initiative from Grofar to improve student aspirations and attainment while providing engagement with employers to develop core skills and provide experiences of the world of work.