A head teacher will be competing in the Great North Run – just to raise funds for his cash-strapped SCHOOL.
David Shaw, 38, says he was forced to take the drastic measure after seeing his primary school crippled by Government budget cuts.
He will now rely on charity donations in order to plug a £19,000 budget shortfall at Spire Junior School in Chesterfield, Derbs.
Mr Shaw said due to funding cuts and cost increases they were finding it increasingly difficult to run the deprived school without running into a deficit.
In order to help balance the books he has had to sack one of his eight teachers, and he and the deputy head are even having to teach part-time.
Under a new funding formula the school now estimates it is set to lose a further £99,000 leading to Mr Shaw resorting to the charity marathon fundraiser.
He has previously completed the Great North Run three times to raise money for Alzheimer’s and cancer charities – but this time all donations will go to the school.
Yesterday (9/2) Mr Shaw said: “I was planning on running it this year anyway and wasn’t sure which cause to raise money for.
“When I found out about the budget cuts last month I decided that I simply had to run in aid of the school. I couldn’t see what else we could do.
“I know it’s somewhat of an unusual cause but so far people have been very supportive.
“Its a sad state of affairs when a head teacher has to resort to charity donations in order to keep the school running.
“I do really fear for our future.”
The school, which has 165 pupils aged between 7 and 11, is the third most deprived in Derbyshire, with 70 per cent of its pupils receiving free school meals.
With funding per pupil falling, Mr Shaw will raise the cash to subsidise school visits for the children.
He added: “Since I took over in September last year the budget has always been tight.
“We’ve not been able to make any long term plans because we’ve never been sure about how we’d finance them, or how much finance there’d be.
“If you look at our IT suite, half of the computers in there are broken and we can’t replace them.
“That just shows how it’s been affecting us in the standard of teaching that we can provide.
“However, I simply cannot understand these latest round of cuts and no one has been able to explain them to me.
“We’re a good school, with rising admissions, that provides a great standard of education in an area of socio-economic depravation, and yet we’re getting the biggest cuts in Derbyshire.
“In total 70 per cent of our pupils are eligible for the free school meals programme, and yet for some reason we’re the biggest losers here.
“If I wasn’t raising money from this run, the only alternative would be stopping subsidies for out of school trips, which I’m simply not willing to do.”
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins asked Prime Minister Theresa May about the school’s plight at Westminster on Wednesday (8/2).
He said: “The headteacher, Dave Shaw, was running the Great North Run for a cancer charity.
“However, her new funding formula means the school faces the biggest cuts in all of Derbyshire.
“Running for cash is now the only alternative to sacking staff. “Will she go to the finish line and tell Dave Shaw how this is a fairer funding formula?”
In response, Theresa May told a session of Prime Minister’s Questions she too wanted to see changes.
She said: “The Government has brought forward a consultation on a fairer funding formula for schools.
“We will look at the results of that consultation and will bring forward our firm proposals in due course.”