A SCHOOL has made a controversial decision to ask parents for a £20 voluntary donation per term.

The Billericay School, in School Road, has said the decision is due to it entering a period of “serious financial constraint” like other schools in the area.

A letter sent home to parents reads: “The Billericay School’s finances have always been sound and well managed and this will continue to be the case, but the level of financial constraint we are now facing means that the Governing Body will have to make further, very difficult choices to ensure we remain in balance and avoid deficit in the coming years, without compromising our core responsibility for providing a balanced and comprehensive curriculum choice for our students.

“We are aware that this is already common practice in many schools to request the parents make an annual voluntary contribution to assist with the “extras” that schools provide to enhance students’ experiences.

“Now, after careful consideration, our governors have decided that The Billericay School should do likewise, and ask that parents make a contribution of £20 per term.

“This decision was not taken lightly and, alone, will not resolve the difficulties, but it will enable us to continue to provide some of the additional incentives and benefits which are so important to our children’s education and school experience.”

The money will be used towards reward events and prizes, diaries, progress and achievement badges, external speakers, special events and projects and transport to extra-curricular activities and matches.

The letter continues that: “The contribution we are seeking is, of course, voluntary and we completely understand that for some families in financial hardship, it will be difficult to make the full donation.

“We would, however, ask that all parents who are able to do so assist the school in this way, as without additional income to support our activities, some will have to be curtailed.”

The letter tells pupils that cheques and an online system can be used to donate the money.

It also states that the school needs to find £19,000 for a new minibus.

Headteacher Ahson Mohammed was not available for comment.