11th January 2024
I hope you have all managed to have an enjoyable and restful Christmas and New Year. I am writing to you about proposed increases to our school dinner charge which will rise to £2.40 from 19th February.
As a school, we have worked very hard to manage the impact of ever rising costs whilst continuing to offer our children experiences which support both their learning in school and their overall health and wellbeing. We have absorbed huge increases in our energy bills, staffing, food costs and have seen soaring costs for resources including paper, exercise books, hand towels and toilet paper.
We have done our best to provide experiences for all our children over and above curriculum provision - so desperately needed following the disruption that Covid-19 caused. We have had incredibly generous support in recent years from local charities such as Ilfracombe Rotary Club, Ilfracombe Roundtable, the Ilfracombe Lions, Fullabrook, AONB and the Tesco Community Grant. Our PTFA have also worked tirelessly on fund raising events and many of our parents have made voluntary donations towards trip costs and we are extremely grateful for all of this support. We will continue to work to obtain grants and further support where possible however, so far in 23/24, we have had to allocate £14,377 from the school budget to subsidise this over and above the donations received.
We do feel that it is vitally important that we continue to provide as many opportunities as we can for our children, and in a way that is as affordable for our families as possible. To continue to afford to do this, we need to address other costs that we are incurring, in particular, the rising costs of running our school kitchen. In the 2022/2023 financial year, our school dinner provision ran to a deficit of £8,584 which had to be settled from the school budget funding. In 23/24 we are currently projecting a deficit of over £10,000.
I have met with the governors and we have discussed this at length and, whilst it is not something we want to do, we do feel the time has come to increase the cost of school dinners. We last raised the price of a school dinner from £2.00 to £2.20 in 2017. Despite all the significant cost pressures, we have maintained the £2.20 price per meal since, but unfortunately, this can no longer be sustained.
The increased charge for school dinners will take some of the pressure off this area and will give us more scope to provide support in other ways. I do hope you will understand this decision and will support us with this going forward.
Mr Le Bredonchel