October 2019 update

Fill the Funding Shortfall is the fundraising campaign started in March 2019 by St. Matthew’s parents concerned about the impact of the £60,000 cut in St. Matthew’s budget this year.

This is an update on the campaign, in Q&A format. But first, please note that if you have previously set up a regular credit/debit card donation via JustGiving, this will stop when your card expires. Check/update your card in your JustGiving account, or create a new Direct Debit donation instead.

How much has been raised so far?

As of 1st October 2019, £19,823 has been raised (published here). This is a significant step towards our target of £60,000 – thank you and well done to everyone! But we need more donations to protect the school from the budget cut for the whole year. We currently receive regular donations of around £2500 each month, and are aiming to double this!

Hasn’t the government recently announced a big schools funding increase?

Yes, but not for this year. The school still has to get through the current school year with £60,000 less funding than last year, and our mission is to fill that gap. So please keep donating for now if you can. We will of course share information about future years’ budgets when they are known.

The government has announced increases in funding spread over three years, starting from 2020/21. If this and future governments keep the promises that have been made, funding for St. Matthew’s should increase over the three years starting 2020/21. We are hopeful, but we still do not know how this will be distributed to schools or if it will fully cover rising costs, inflation and increases in pupil numbers. More detail should be coming into schools later in October and we will keep you posted.

Even if the funding does materialise, the full promised increases won’t reach the school until April 2022. And there are still gaps: schoolcuts.org.uk has identified that the announced increases are inadequate for children with special needs and nurseries like St. Matthew’s nursery.

Why should parents fund a state school?

We firmly believe that state schools should be fully funded by the state, but we do not feel the state is currently fulfilling its obligation to do this. St. Matthew’s is an excellent school but this cannot be maintained without adequate funding. If, like us, you cannot stand by and watch the teachers, teaching assistants and children at our school suffer the cutbacks, you are welcome to join us in filling this year’s funding shortfall. Nobody should feel under any obligation to do so.

Who is donating? How much do people donate?

A large number of parents, relations and friends of St. Matthew’s and its pupils. Donations are anonymous.

You can donate any amount. Regular donations currently range from £5 to £100 per month. Some donors have been able to give more – one parent made a £2500 donation over the summer.

What will the money be spent on? Will it make a difference?

The money will be given to the school to decide how to spend it. Headteacher Mr Davies is very concerned that specific budgets within the school could run out before the end of the year, and will use the funds raised to fill any gaps where the need is greatest. Areas at risk include support and counselling for pupils, purchasing of resources, and teaching assistant classroom hours.

Mr Davies has told us the funds raised are already making a difference:

“Thank you so much for all you have done. I can tell you now that there are very vulnerable children in St Matthew’s receiving the help that they need because of [the funds raised so far], resources that have been purchased etc. It has been a huge relief to know that [the funds raised have] given us a buffer against a possible end of year deficit to enable us to do certain things that would not have happened without you.”

Why is there a funding shortfall? Can I see the figures?

We have an article with all the details at fundstmatthews.com/about-the-cuts 

How can I donate?

Visit fundstmatthews.com/donate to set up a donation by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

You may also be able to give via ‘Give As You Earn’ or similar schemes. Please contact us about this so we know your donation is for the funding shortfall campaign. Please also consider asking your employer to support the campaign by matching funds or making their own donation.

If you have any other questions about donating, you can contact donate@fundstmatthews.com (emails go to one person and will be treated confidentially).

I already donate. Do I need to do anything?

Thank you for your donation. If you have a regular donation by card (through JustGiving), please remember this will cease if your credit/debit card expires. Check in your JustGiving account or contact us if you need help.

Does the campaign get Gift Aid? Can I claim tax relief?

Yes. Donations are made to the St. Matthew’s PTA, a registered charity. Gift Aid is automatically added to your donation if you tick the box to confirm you are eligible (i.e. if you pay UK income tax). This allows us to automatically reclaim tax from the government, increasing the value of your donation by 25% at no cost to you.

If you are a higher-rate (40%) taxpayer, you can reclaim an additional tax relief for yourself, to the value of 20% of your donation, by declaring the total you donated in your tax return.

Are you spending donated funds on banners, stickers, etc?

No, 100% of your donations will go to the school (via the PTA). The Josie-the-giraffe banners, stickers, and other fundraising costs have all been paid for personally by the organisers.

How do I know my money is safe and will go to the school?

Donations are made securely through third-party fundraising sites JustGiving and Charities Action Foundation, who only work with registered charities. The PTA (a registered charity) is required to submit accounts to the Charities Commission. We publish the total raised each month on our website for transparency.

I have a fundraising idea, another question or want to get more involved!

Great! You can get in touch via info@fundstmatthews.com or chat to someone already involved at the school gate. 

1,000 people joined the Cambridge march to protest against school funding cuts

Here is some of the media coverage of our 1st April march against school funding cuts:

Time lapse video

Video showing size of march

ITV News Anglia report

BBC Look East (West) News report  (7 mins in)

Interview with St. Matthew’s headmaster Mr Davies (skip to 1 hour 5 mins 55 seconds)

Cambridge News report

Varsity news report

Children’s speeches

Cambridge Independent

Other photos and videos can be found in the Fund Our Schools Facebook group