Thousands of cash-strapped schools are turning to online donations to pay for basics

More than 1,000 English schools are turning to online donations and Amazon wishlists to pay for basic supplies, a Guardian investigation has revealed.

Some 700 crowdsourcing donations have been set up through websites such as Justgiving and Crowdfunder, and 300 schools are using Amazon wishlists to escape the teeth of government cuts.

While much of the activity includes traditional fundraising efforts for new playgrounds or sports facilities, many explicitly mention the effects of government funding cuts in their appeals to supporters.  

One school, Lainesmead Primary school in Swindon, is seeking funds to buy equipment that it cannot afford. On their Justgiving page they say: “Unfortunately, due to government budget cuts, last year we lost £80,000 and had to make several redundancies. Our dire financial situation has continued this year and we are having to make further cutbacks”.

Based on their Amazon wishlists, a number of state schools in England are simply seeking help to fund basic supplies such as stationery items or cleaning products such as vacuum bags, soap and latex gloves.

Judith Donovan, the headteacher of Gibside special school in Gateshead, said using wishlists had been popular with parents as a way of directly funding items the school needs rather than simply making donations.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said it was a “disgrace” that schools were forced to plead for funds online and through begging letters sent home to pay for basics such as books and pencils.

Speaking to the Guardian, she said: “The government should be utterly ashamed. Austerity is a political choice, and a whole generation of children are paying the price.

“The prime minister needs to face up to the crisis her government has created in our schools instead of trotting out discredited and misleading statistics about school funding that prove just how out of touch they are.”

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