Carlisle school head urges parents to donate paper, pencils and crayons

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Kingmoor Nursery and Infant School, Carlisle
Kingmoor Nursery and Infant School, Carlisle

A headteacher is appealing for parents to donate items such as paper, crayons and glue sticks as protests about school funding cuts intensify.

Pupils at Kingmoor Nursery and Infant School in Carlisle are being given the chance to ditch their uniform for a day in return for glue sticks, colouring pencils, crayons, paper, soft footballs and skipping ropes.

The equipment-raiser has

sparked an angry response from one councillor, who condemned it as “a [publicity] stunt”.

Headteacher Zoe Turner wrote to parents, stating: “This is all equipment that we are desperately short of and by asking you, we are hoping to highlight the effects of the school funding cuts.”

Her letter calling for support for tomorrow’s non-uniform day at Kingmoor’s infant school comes days after hundreds of people attended a rally in the centre of Carlisle about the funding crisis campaigners say schools are facing.

Tomorrow’s non-uniform day is believed to be part of a national day of action headed by the parent-led Fair Funding for All Schools campaign.

 Gareth Ellis

Gareth Ellis

But Belah councillor Gareth Ellis has criticised Mrs Turner for issuing the letter.

He said: “There is a way you could table these things and try to inform parents, but asking parents for these and for them to think that their children will not have paper in their classrooms unless they bring some, it is not right.

“This is just about doing a stunt. It will not make a different to how the school functions.”

Parent Claire Pearce attended Sunday’s rally in the centre of Carlisle and supports the initiative.

Mrs Pearce, who has a child at Kingmoor’s infant school, said: “It was a good turnout at the rally, a good crowd.

 Claire Pearce

Claire Pearce

“Another parent put it to the school and said why didn’t we support in another way like asking parents to give a small donation of an item instead of money. I’ve just been out to get some of my things today.”

The national Fair Funding for All Schools campaign is calling on people to take part in its “School Assembly” tomorrow afternoon to raise awareness of funding issues.

On its Twitter social media feed, the Fair Funding for All Schools campaign said of Mrs Turner’s letter: “This school in Carlisle has taken a very pragmatic approach to our national day of action.”

The News & Star has contacted Kingmoor Nursery and Infant School to speak to Mrs Turner but there has been no response.

Concerns about schools funding have gathered apace in recent months since the National Audit Office said schools in England need to make £3 billion in savings by 2019-20.

Ministers have previously said that spending on education has been at a £40bn record high, a figure which will rise to £42bn by 2019-20 as pupil numbers increase.

There are also plans to introduce a new national funding formula to make the current system fairer but it could leave thousands of schools worse off.

The three main political parties have made pledges about education and funding in their election manifestos.

Schools funding had become one of the key battlegrounds for candidates in the run-up to the General Election before campaigning was suspended after this week’s terror attack in Manchester.

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mark   allinson , Carlisle Thursday, 01 June, 2017 at 1:01PM
We never hear of cuts to the school budgets down south with the conservatives in charge because the school's won't be getting there budgets cut they will gain while all the schools in Cumbria get there's cut so school down south gain
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Colin   Agnew , Carlisle Wednesday, 31 May, 2017 at 12:28AM
Mr Ellis attempts to defuse and detract from an underlying flaw in the Tory policy on Education -Treat it like a business- its not a business its a public service which is slowly be privatised by the backdoor, witness there are only a limited number of places in county for pupils with sever special needs ! The "Academisation " of our schools - no longer in county control, no longer locally accountable , run by academy trusts with executive heads etc on 6figure salaries , meanwhile there are staff cuts , limited provision, inadequate resourcing , teachers and assistants working well beyond their contracted hours to meet performance targets sets by "managers" . how much of our tax pounds land up as profit for these Academy Trusts instead of being use to staff and resource education properly?
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Concerned   Parent , Carlisle Monday, 29 May, 2017 at 12:07PM
If you think money is tight for the school now take a look here at the size of cuts to the school if the Conservatives get back into power https://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/#!/schools?chosenSchool=9092625&query=kingmoor
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  Penders , London Sunday, 28 May, 2017 at 7:37PM
A quick google has revealed that Gareth Ellis is of the Conservative Party persuasion himself, if that's of any interest. But no, I'm sure his remarks were entirely impartial
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Big   Jack , Carlisle Saturday, 27 May, 2017 at 7:40AM
All this stuff will end up in a bin. Teachers go through hundreds of glue sticks and deans of paper. Going through old scabby footballs and papers to work out any good stuff will be a comprehensive waste of time. It's a great little bit of publicity but preposterous to claim that the school is short of this kind of thing.
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P   S , UK Friday, 26 May, 2017 at 11:40PM
Mr Ellis, I hate to be the one to tell you, but teachers have been buying these things and more, out of their OWN pockets, for years! Shortfalls in funding and equipment are not a recent thing. Most classes simply would not function to educational standards without this voluntary contribution. And don't get me started on how much extra work they do during their holidays! I suggest that you are a little out of touch, if you do not realise this. Perhaps you should visit the school and see for yourself, instead of slating the head for highlighting the issue.
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Marc   , Carlisle Thursday, 25 May, 2017 at 10:50PM
My child goes to that school and I'm glad the headteacher called it out as it is. Anything donated will help towards my child's education. Mr Ellis, what are you suggesting instead of this idea?
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Tim   Turner , Carlisle Thursday, 25 May, 2017 at 10:19PM
The reality of cuts. Find out how much your local school is losing by going to https://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/#!/ Why would anyone do this as a publicity stunt?!
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John   , Carlisle Thursday, 25 May, 2017 at 5:33PM
Looks like either playing politics or bad management. I don't believe a word of it.
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barry   jandera , carlisle Thursday, 25 May, 2017 at 3:47PM
What ellis needs to remember is the austerity carlisle city council is suffering because ofthe tory pary he supports. The school wouldnt ask if i wasnt needed .. as for it being a stunt .. he knows all about them .. never seen anywhere in stanwix .. belah and then tried to give the impression he alone saved the park which was being closed because of tory cuts even mentioned it on his flyers .... he forgot all about parents efforts and hard work ..
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A   , Silloth Thursday, 25 May, 2017 at 3:03PM
When John Stevenson comes knocking on your door show this article and don't accept the usual rubbish excuse that they are spending more than before, this is real life not some funding spreadsheet and it's affecting your children.
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  , Thursday, 25 May, 2017 at 12:28PM
This is not about politics mr Ellis it's about our children and us as parents supporting them and our local school. Brilliant idea Mrs Turner hope your response is a good one #schoolsjustwannahavefunds
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  , Thursday, 25 May, 2017 at 12:15PM
We support Mrs turner and kingmoor school let's all pull together show councillor Ellis what community spirit is!!
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