Frequently Asked Questions
What are Voluntary Contributions?
They are contributions made by parents so the school can fund extra investment in your child’s education and provide security to safeguard our children.
Voluntary contributions are to advance the education of pupils at Wolfson Hillel Primary School by the provision of resources, equipment, teaching and facilities for education in addition to those provided out of public funds. We are required by law to point out to you that you are not legally obliged to make your contribution nor does failure to make a contribution mean that your child will be treated any differently as a result.
How do our Voluntary Contributions rates compare with that of other schools?
Currently at £1,200 per year, per child, they compare extremely well against other schools. This payment can be spread across the year. The governing body has decided to freeze this amount at the same rate for 2016/17. The Governors continue to work hard to ensure that contributions remain as low as possible without compromising the provision.
Voluntary Contributions – How They Are Used
Parental voluntary contributions are used to fund education and learning opportunities which could not be afforded based on the money we receive from the Government alone. We are sometimes asked “what is the voluntary contribution spent on”. Unfortunately we cannot answer this with a direct analysis because that is not the way the system works. What we do is prepare a budget for each year to meet all of the schools requirements and compare this to the amount of money that we will receive as a grant from Enfield. The balance divided by the anticipated number of contributors gives us a number for the suggested voluntary contributions.
As an example in 2015/6, parental voluntary contributions funded £320K on top of £1,800K received from Enfield. This means that 18% of all our spending was funded through voluntary contributions. We know that funding from the Department for Education is being reduced going forwards, making these contributions even more vital.
The largest part of any school budget is spent on staff. Support from voluntary contributions means that Wolfson Hillel has generous staffing levels and can afford the three teacher model ensuring Maths and English are taught in classes of 20 children; and specialist staff to support the Music, Maths and Ivrit. This is far in excess of what is provided at most primary schools. Government funding is not designed to cover our Jewish studies programme. Ivrit is taught as a modern foreign language and integrated into Jewish Studies. The classes cater for different background levels of Hebrew. Jewish studies is taught as both a separate subject and interwoven throughout the curriculum – Jewish holidays are celebrated in style.
The money provided by voluntary contributions also supports the provision of many added extras which collective could not be afforded if we relied on Government funding alone. Examples of this type include:-
- Specialist teaching and intervention activities for all children including gifted and talented children
- IT facilities for access across the curriculum in classes
- Additional support for children with special needs, provided before additional funding is received from the government;
- Generous levels of training and professional development for staff to ensure that the quality of teaching remains outstanding
- Specialist facilities to support the emotional needs of children through our learning mentor and therapists
- A wide range of extra-curricular and playground activities for all children.
How is security provided at the school?
The school uses an outside security firm who are approved by CST to provide security guards. Community Security Trust (CST) is a charity which represents and supports the Jewish community in dealing with security and anti-Semitism. The service provided to the school by the security firm ensures the safety, security and well being of all pupils and staff during the school day. We use an up to date CCTV system, radios and a dedicated security cabin.
An additional Voluntary Contribution of £120 per family enables us to maintain the high level of security and provide additional security as and when required that is necessary to ensure a safe and secure environment for our children and staff.
Why can’t it be done just by volunteers?
Security provision requires specialist expertise and a permanent presence. The security guards provided by the company are trained in handling emergencies and have experience and knowledge of our school, the surroundings, parents and children, so should notice anything out of the ordinary.
Do all parents make their Voluntary Contributions?
The school has a good collection rate for Voluntary Contributions. There is small percentage of parents who genuinely cannot afford to contribute due to financial hardship. If you are in this position please arrange to meet with the School Business Manager to explore options.
Who can I speak to if I have further questions about Voluntary Contributions?
Please feel free to contact the School Business Manager via the school office.