Cash-strapped school's plea for volunteer helpers

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 December 2019

Head teacher Steve Hitchcock with volunteer Sue Stubbings and year six pupil Eliott Bright. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

Head teacher Steve Hitchcock with volunteer Sue Stubbings and year six pupil Eliott Bright. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

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A plea has been made for volunteers to come forward to help children at Budleigh Salterton's cash-strapped primary school.

Cilla Luce, who has been volunteering at St Peter's for five years, with receiption pupils Logan, Woody, Arlo and Florence. Picture: Daniel WilkinsCilla Luce, who has been volunteering at St Peter's for five years, with receiption pupils Logan, Woody, Arlo and Florence. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

The lack of government funding for schools has intensified the need for members of the Budleigh community to help at St Peter's.

According to National Education Union website schoolcuts.org.uk, St Peter's, in Moor Lane, faces a £70,000 shortfall in its budget next year - equating to £243 per pupil.

Classroom assistants, language support, swimming helpers and pupil mentors are among the roles the school, which already has a band of 25 volunteers, is looking to fill.

Headteacher Steve Hitchcock said the financial pressure on the school means volunteering at the school is even more important.

Head teacher Steve Hitchcock with volunteer Sue Stubbings and year six pupil Eliott Bright. Picture: Daniel WilkinsHead teacher Steve Hitchcock with volunteer Sue Stubbings and year six pupil Eliott Bright. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

He said: "We are lucky - we do have quite a big army of volunteers already.

"We are looking for people who can help out in school, particularly with younger children and help them 
with their learning and play.

"We are asking if anyone else in our community would be able to offer a bit of their time each week to help us grow and nurture the pupils at our school.

"Volunteering is definitely something we were doing anyway, but the need has become bigger in the last three or four years.

"Each year, we have lost teaching staff and have not been able to replace them so we rely on volunteers more and more."

As well as the volunteers who help out at school, members of the PTA have given up their time to raise funds for St Peter's.

Mr Hitchcock said that without them, the school's new on-site library would not have been possible.

The school has also asked for financial contributions from parents to help keep the school afloat.

Anyone interested in volunteering will be subject to background checks and Mr Hitchcock said a love of working with children is vital.

He said: "I have done job descriptions to give people an idea of the range of things we are looking for them to do."

Visit the school website or pop in to the office for more information on how to become a school volunteer.

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