East London schoolkids make Christmas single to raise money for books, pens and paper after budget cut

Children at an East London primary school are hoping to get a Christmas number one.

A Walthamstow school that has been facing repeated cuts has decided to take the unusual step of trying to get a Christmas number one. Barn Croft School in East London wants to raise £50,000 so it doesn’t have to cut back on essentials such as pens or let go of staff.

Barn Croft Primary School in Walthamstow has faced cuts like schools all over the country – however with only 200 pupils, these cuts could prove fatal. Headteacher Tracey Griffiths doesn’t want to make that choice, and with rising energy bills and the cost of living crisis, she has rallied the pupils and their parents.

She told MyLondon: “We hardly spend anything currently and we’ve had to cut right back on things already. Paper, pens, pencils, all those sorts of things, we’ve had to cut back. In primary school back in the day, you’d have an art cupboard full of resources that teachers could use, but that doesn’t happen anymore. Next year, state schools are set to lose £8.7 million in Government funding.

“It’s been years and years of cuts to education and this year has been a combination of things. With the pandemic, rising costs and Brexit, we’ve reached a critical point. We have some solar panels being installed on our roofs and after talking to the Parents Teacher Association and Friends of Barn Croft, we started thinking of ways we could raise enough money.”

Tracey and the school community didn’t want to cut back on any more resources, so somebody came up with the idea of getting the kids to sing and try to make a Christmas number one. Many schools will be facing tough decisions in the coming months and Barn Croft is one of them, but they hope that this Christmas single will help them become self-sustainable.

Tracey added: “We don’t want to go into a deficit, because that then means you’ll have to start restructuring the workforce and making redundancies. We’re a community school and we really came together over the lockdowns and helped support the community. Making redundancies is something I absolutely desperately want to avoid at all costs.

“We wanted to find ways to raise this money without having to do that over the next couple of years. We’ve got some parents,(Dan Edelstyn, Hilary Powell and Natalie Sloan) who are filmmakers and sound recordists and they got the pupils into groups and were able to make the song. It sounds amazing and we just want people to download the single and hopefully donate to the Crowdfunder.”

Schoolchildren at Barn Croft Primary School have got together to make a Christmas song to try to stop cuts to the school (Image: Barn Croft primary school)

The school hopes to raise £50,000 which will help cover the cost of installing the solar panels and give the school the chance to budget “for regularly reduced outgoings on heat and light whilst also having the solar panels as a tool for learning about climate and energy”. The song You’re The Voice is a cover of the original by John Farnham.

Tracey added: “We do a lot of outdoor learning here and we are always relying on parents for extra donations for equipment. We want to be able to have these extra materials without having to do that. Schools like ours don’t have any extras at all and it’s tough. If we get any money over the £50,000 target we will use it to help get that stuff.

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