School that pleaded with parents to buy essential items is actually sitting on a huge cash reserve 

  • The academy chain which St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary School belongs to had £3.5 million assets in 2017
  • Last week sent an email to parents asking them to provide office supplies 
  • The school said it is facing £70,000 losses due to reductions in a grant

A school that pleaded with parents to provide toilet rolls because it has been hit by funding cuts is sitting on a huge cash reserve.

St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary School in Maidenhead, Berkshire, last week sent an email to parents with a link to an Amazon ‘wish list’ page and asked them to buy essential items including pens, pencils and loo paper.

Teaching unions and parents said the appeal by the school in Theresa May’s constituency should sound ‘alarm bells’ over the Government’s funding squeeze.

Catherine del Campo, whose ten-year-old daughter is among the school’s 420 pupils, said: ‘This is really desperate, the fact they are asking for office supplies and toilet paper.’

However, accounts for the academy chain to which the school belongs reveal it had total assets of more than £3.5 million in 2017. It had more than £1 million ‘in the bank or in hand’ and St Edmund Campion alone was more than £500,000 in the black.

 St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary School reportedly has more than £1m in the bank

Critics accused some schools of putting out scare stories. John Redwood, the Conservative MP for the neighbouring Wokingham constituency, said: ‘I would want to hear the school’s side of the story, but it does look mighty odd if there is plenty of money in the accounts when they were last published. You would certainly hope they would be able to take care of all the basics.

‘We do know in general terms that there are plenty of campaigns regarding underfunding run in conjunction with the Labour Party so it’s very important to look at all their accounts to work out exactly what’s going on.’ A Tory councillor in Maidenhead, who asked not to be named, said: ‘I just don’t believe the school is so desperate that it needs to crowd fund to afford loo roll.’

The school did not respond to requests for comment but last week said it faces losses of £70,000 after the Government announced reductions in a grant to help academies provide key services.

Kate Foreman, the school’s business manager who came up with the idea of a wish list, told a newspaper that cuts had made the school’s future uncertain.