London

Ilford school makes Children in Need funding bid

Downshall primary school Image copyright Google
Image caption About 700 pupils attend Downshall primary school in Ilford

A cash-strapped school in east London has asked Children in Need for help to continue funding support for its most vulnerable pupils.

Downshall Primary School in Ilford says it will have to cut its pastoral care team unless it gets a funding boost.

Head teacher Ian Bennett said the team was essential as some pupils were from "very challenging backgrounds".

The Department for Education (DfE) said school funding in England was at "its highest ever level".

The school said it had received confirmation from the BBC charity saying that it had received the bid.

'Make or break'

Some 700 pupils attend the school, with many from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Mr Bennett said rising costs meant for the first time he had been forced to turn to charities in a "make or break" bid to keep the the service.

The school's pastoral care team of 1.5 staff provides help and support for children at times of crisis, such as if they witness domestic violence at home.

The team's work was crucial as "if you don't support children when they are going through challenges, they are vulnerable to further issues", Mr Bennett said.

A Children in Need spokesperson said it could fund projects which "make a tangible difference to children and young people who are facing disadvantages" but did not "for work which statutory bodies such as schools or local authorities have a duty to fund".

A DfE spokesperson said while schools had faced budgeting challenges, Downshall primary had received 2.5% more funding per pupil this year, compared to 2017-18.

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