BPS Parent Council received a funding application from the board of St Oswald’s Centre for a contribution to the on-going renovation costs of their building. To receive funding, all applications must meet the agreed criteria of being inclusive, enduring, progressive and aligned to the curriculum. Two Special Meetings were held, which were open to all members of the Parent Forum and all staff at BPS, to discuss the application.

A Funding Application Survey was then circulated via email to all 25 members of the Parent Council on 24th February. PC members had one week to respond to the survey. The purpose of the Funding Application Survey was to inform the PC decision on whether or not to allocate funding to the St Oswald’s Centre and if so, how much.

There were 23 responses to the survey, out of 25 members – a 92% response rate. 15 voted to support the application and 8 did not support. Out of the 15 votes in favour of supporting, the majority voted to partially fund the application. The total £ amount (adding together all suggested contributions) was £92.5K. In order that we take all views into account, including those who voted against (i.e. £0), that total was divided by the number of people that responded (23). Therefore, we will fund St Oswald’s £4021.

Full Survey Results:

Q1. Should the application be funded, to any extent, by BPS Parent Council? In reaching your decision, you should consider all aspects of the consultation process including the funding application, business case and any Special PC Meetings that you may have taken part in.

  • Yes – 15 (65%)
  • No – 8 (35%)

Q2. If you answered yes to Q1, what amount should the PC contribute?

There were a wide-range of views expressed ranging from £1,500 – £15,000.

  • £1,500
  • £2,000
  • £2,000
  • £3,000
  • £4,000
  • £4,000
  • £5,000
  • £5,000
  • £5,000
  • £5,000
  • £6,000
  • £10,000
  • £10,000
  • £15,000
  • £15,000

Q3. Please explain why you have reached this decision?

Responses from those in support of funding application in full (£15K):

  1. I have reached this decision because:

    This is a once in a generation project in the Bruntsfield area with a particular focus on providing much needed additional pre and after school care. All quantifiable! This project will enable more parents to work full time! The need for additional space will only increase with the new P1 intake likely to hit 3 figures as communicated by the school.

    The project is led by current and former BPS parents who came together as part of the pc to address parents concerns around childcare and the lack of space within BPS. All in their spare time with a clear vision to continuously engage parents, the school, childcare providers and the wider Bruntsfield community. Those concerns have not gone away and if anything, have increased!

    St. Oswalds can also provide a home for some of our after-school clubs as well as providing learning and development opportunities for local primary school children during the day, potentially free of charge with little/no impact on the school’s budget. The council has in the past tried to charge for school space on pc run after-school clubs and will likely do so again. All other available space in our area is at a premium!

    All of the above can clearly be linked to our funding criteria, inclusive, enduring, progressive and curriculum!

    The money available to the pc just now has been generated by parents who have paid for their children’s pc after-school club places, with clubs a clear beneficiary of St. Oswalds!

    According to the St. Oswalds funding application and subsequent discussions, the funds will not just help them complete a phase of the current refurbishment but also help to deploy it as a matching fund to unlock monies St. Oswald’s has already successfully applied for and will also be used to generate further funds. St. Oswalds have a clear track record in obtaining funding through grants, community and individual giving. If money given now is multiplied anywhere near the money already obtained, I am all for it.

    All other short-term school needs could be met by the pc through existing funds, fundraising, grant applications and lobbying the council/government.
  2. This is a unique opportunity to use clubs money to help a community project. I believe in time the whole school community will benefit massively from the BSO project, including our clubs.

Responses from those in support of partial funding (between £1,500 and £10,000)

  1. £15,000 is too much given the school needs.
  2. The St Oswald’s Centre is the ideal neighbour for Bruntsfield Primary School. The volunteers are actively working towards the development of a space that will benefit the children at Bruntsfield Primary, in addition to repairing a derelict building in our community bordering the school.
  3. I believe that St Oswald’s Centre, once completed, will be a valuable addition to the school and the community.
  4. Given that the monies available have been generated through our BPS clubs account, it is important that we support an initiative that will likely be a vital resource for BPS clubs of the future.
  5. This project was started with the full support of the senior management at school as well as the PC with the understanding that there would be a close link, collaboration and benefit to Bruntsfield children both during and after school hours.
  6. I believe that St. Oswald’s has the potential to greatly enhance the lives of our children, both in and out of school hours, and that the project is worthy of further funding support (in addition to the £6,000 already given – which I suggest matching). The team behind St. Oswald’s clearly has good intentions with regards to BPS access, and I’d like them to feel the Parent Council’s continued support and commitment to the project. The lives of our children are greater than just ‘school’, and the Parent Council has a holistic role in this, therefore funding a project that is in our locale, and will benefit children/families year-round and outside of school hours, is absolutely worthwhile. Hopefully there’s other things that we can do to demonstrate our support going forwards, too.
  7. I’m in full support of St Oswald’s and believe it to be a great initiative but I don’t feel we can support the full amount due to all the other demands on our limited funds.
  8. The surplus money we have accumulated has come through Clubs rather than being the result of specific fundraising. And our Clubs could directly benefit from the St Oswald’s Centre, through use of their space. Therefore I feel the application merits consideration. As there are strong feelings both for and against the application, I feel the fairest thing to do would be to partly fund it.
  9. This will hopefully showcase the PC’s commitment to this project yet will ensure we have ample funds to help BPS with more pressing needs that will directly impact our children in the coming years.
  10. a) No quotes were provided for the requested amount of money; b) There was no reply with regards to how the applicant was going to top-up the remaining budget request (what alternatives they have; if the request was urgent then a plan b should have been in place); c) There were many concerns/objections from the parent forum, which I take into account; d) In the past, the applicant had received seed funding from the BPS PC; getting £10K (in total) is more than enough given the current interaction with the school and the financial capacity of the funder for a project which is not directly linked to the school’s needs (or at least the majority of the parent forum and the school has failed to see this direct link with the applicant’s vision). Recommended way to move forward is to establish more direct links and fundraise to support financially the applicant.
  11. I think we should fund the application to show the ongoing support from the BPS parent community. As for the amount being only a fraction of the initial request it is because of the current climate and I would give priority for larger sum to project that benefit the school/pupils immediately.
  12. I think we should support St Oswald’s and fund a small amount. There is a lot of immediate need in the school and the majority of the current funds should go towards that. Although we can fundraise, this is not a given in the current financial climate.
  13. The school has many other priorities that I believe are more pressing. The project is worthy and is good to support it and not close doors. Given that times may not be easy financially, it is good to keep some funds for urgent needs. Thus a small contribution seems to me more appropriate, keeping us in the funders of the project while not neglecting the needs and priorities of the school.

Responses from those not in support of funding:

  1. Funds going to the school will have the potential to benefit all children in the school, this is not the case with St Oswald’s project where not all children from BPS will benefit.
  2. I prefer a separate clarified fundraising for SO particularly. It’s not comfortable to go on with a solution when people are having very different voices. Also, I prefer to support more specific and planned projects which has a clear deadline to each goals and can share with all.
  3. There is a limited tangible and direct benefit to all the BPS children with a somewhat undefined timescale and vision for the mechanics of the SOC operation. In my humble opinion, an unclear business case is presented at this stage with a challenging business model and evidence for the operation in the future. The current economic climate is that the school needs should be prioritised. However, I would support focused and cause-specific fundraising initiatives where PC could support SOC with volunteers/time donated to support ongoing renovation costs, etc.
  4. There is nothing in writing between the school and St Oswald’s Centre to guarantee that the School will have the right to use their space.
  5. In my opinion the St Oswald’s funding application has been done in good faith and with transparency and integrity. I firmly believe the funding applicants have been working to better the community and to provide additional opportunities for the children of Bruntsfield Primary. That being said, there have been a number of factors outwith the St Oswald’s Application that have made this a hugely contentious topic for many within the BPS community. Although there has been transparency around available funds and eligibility for this, there have been multiple objections around the use of existing Parent Council funds for this project. In the interest of maintaining positive relationships with the parent community and the teaching staff, I have voted that the existing funds be focused directly on the school funding applications. As many have suggested I would agree with doing a separate fundraising event to raise additional funds for St Oswald’s specifically to allay any concerns with previous fundraising objectives and they relate to this project. A huge thank you to all of those involved across all funding streams, this is often a thankless task and I offer you my heartfelt appreciation.
  6. I believe St Oswald’s Centre will be a great asset to the Bruntsfield community; however, BPS Parent Council has already contributed a significant amount to the project in the past and I cannot conclude that there is a guarantee at this stage for direct benefits from St Oswald’s Centre to BPS although a range of indirect benefits can be envisaged. This weakens all the criteria required for funding applications from BPS Parent Council. Therefore, I would support future fundraising conducted by BPS Parent Council specifically for St Oswald’s Centre project but do not support a funding contribution at this stage. I believe that the currently available funds would be best to be used for a direct contribution to BPS.
  7. I am fully supportive of St Oswald’s and I would be keen for us to look at dedicated ways of fundraising to support the Centre going forward. However, there are a number of current, pressing needs within School and I believe an expectation from the wider parent forum that this is where funding should be prioritised. 
  8. After the numerous meetings and discussions I’ve come to the conclusion that this application does not fulfil the funding criteria sufficiently to warrant being funded by the Parent Council. I namely question the inclusivity aspect. Availability of the building to the Bruntsfield pupils outside of the school hours is solely by opt-in and depended on the affordability and attractiveness of that offer to parents and children. Also, use of the facility during the school hours is currently offered, however not assured.   Furthermore, I am conscious that rising costs of construction work and subsequently moving timelines of this venture play a part here. I do not feel confident in allocating funding to the initiative that cost of completion is so volatile. Also, it is evident that a fraction of funding required for this venture represents a massive funding opportunity for initiatives that would support children here and now.    Finally, with the onset of Pandemic, in my view, importance of utilising outdoor play and learning and ability to support children and teachers in that has shown that although having a building is important, there is a huge gap in what Bruntsfield currently does and could be doing if better equipped and supported.