Headteacher column with Alex Reppold

Alex Reppold, headteacher at Pocklington Community Junior School.
Alex Reppold, headteacher at Pocklington Community Junior School.

My budget for the school has already taken some significant hits this year; we’ve bought new furniture, painted sections of the school, installed lockers for our older pupils and invested in new resources.

All brilliant – and all making a big difference to how it feels around school – however the pot of money it comes from is not bottomless.

I would like to thank the volunteers who help out in our schools and organise events such as Christmas and summer fairs.

I would like to thank the volunteers who help out in our schools and organise events such as Christmas and summer fairs.

Schools in the local area are significantly disadvantaged compared to other parts of the country due to the national funding formula.

Currently secondary schools in the East Riding receive around half the money per pupil compared to the highest funding state schools in the country, and significantly less than what the average school gets per pupil.

Although there are clear cost-of-living issues comparing the East Riding with central London, the fact remains that schools local to here have less money to work with than others.

However, this isn’t going to be a column moaning about this unfair formula – ultimately all schools have to do their best with what they’re given. Instead I want to thank that army of volunteers who help out in our schools, organise school events such as Christmas and summer fairs, and even to the parents who part with their hard earned cash for a raffle prize.

Without them, there would be a huge, noticeable hole in our schools.

Often our fondest memories from school aren’t the learning, they’re the things around the peripheries of schools such as the fair, or the lady who came in to read with you every week – or the pink custard (I’m looking at your Mr Woodhouse!).

Schools should be at the centre of the community. I believe that it takes a whole village to raise a child.

If the whole community is involved, then the children see they matter.

We have a wonderful group of parents who are the ‘Friends of Pocklington Community Junior School’ and right now they are looking for more volunteers.

You don’t have to be a parent of a child at our school to come and join – you just have to want the best for the children who are in our town.

Maybe you’re a grandparent of one of our pupils?

Maybe you’ve just moved to the area and would like to make a difference?

Maybe you’ve got a spare hour in your life and want to do something which will make a difference? If you’re interested then please get in touch with your local school – there’s lots of wonderful schools in the area who need your help.

Often when I speak to people about helping schools, two main worries come up.

Firstly, that they don’t have a child of their own at the school and secondly, that they worry they might not know how to help the children.

Let me assure you, volunteering in school can be for anyone.

Our strict safeguarding procedures mean we can be confident that who we let through the doors are suitable to be with children – but having a child of your own in the school isn’t a prerequisite part of this!

Secondly, whatever skills you bring, we can use to make the children’s learning even better – the Friends of the School would love to have your help, even if only for an hour or two every now and again.

If you’d like to help our school, please do get in touch via the school office. And if you’re not local to us, please do think about volunteering at your local school – it really does make a big difference.