A SCHOOL received a donation worth a quarter of a million pounds after pleading with parents for financial help.

Lord Williams's School in Thame, Oxfordshire's largest school, was gifted with the generous sum after launching a fundraising appeal.

David Wybron, headteacher of the 2,100-pupil academy, has frequently written to parents about the funding crisis and said government cash is not stretching far enough to cover increasing costs.

Thame Partnership Academy Trust, which runs the school, has now revealed in its annual accounts that a hefty donation has helped to outweigh costly heating repairs.

The documents, published on Companies House, state: "Overall expenditure [in 2017-18] was £764k higher than the budget, predominantly due to direct revenue financing costs of £508k for central heating works.

"Income was higher than forecast due to significant donations in year and facilities lettings performing well.

"The significant impact of the cost of funding this [central heating] project was reduced by a substantial donation made to the school to the value of £250k."

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The 'outstanding'-rated school has tried twice to gain a government grant to pay for heating works, but had to plunge into its reserves pot during the last financial year after its bid was rejected again, despite appealing the decision.

The accounts, published in March, state: "This has been a particularly difficult year with the facilities budget being cut, while the demand for capital expenditure has increased."

In a newsletter sent to parents before the Easter break, the school's new fundraising lead admitted that 'we as a school are relying on your [parents'] voluntary contributions and generosity more and more.'

Media students at the school have made a video to encourage donations, and after Easter parents will receive a leaflet about the appeal in the post.

Mr Wybron, who is due to retire at the end of the academic year, wrote in the newsletter: "I am still waiting for a reply from our local MP about the funding crisis in education and particularly my request that he speaks out on the pensions issue - this is the increase of pension contributions that have to be made by the school, to the tune of £336,000, with no support to do this in 2020/21.

"I am pleased that our income from lettings is good and that through our new school development manager, we are working hard on fundraising."

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Last year the headteacher told the Oxford Mail he was 'uneasy' about asking parents for donations, but that the school had to take proactive measures to avoid 'devastating' impact.

The trust's accounts said: "The move to a proactive fundraising policy in 2017/18 is seen as a conscious attempt to try and mitigate current funding pressures, avoiding unnecessary cost cutting measures where possible.

"Our approach to fundraising is to build relationships with individuals, including both past and

The trust spent £12,558 on raising funds in 2017-18, and gained £317,266 in donations and capital grants. 

The total funds brought forward were £15.4m, up from £15.2m in 2016-17.

The number of teachers at the school increased from 134 in 2017 to 148 in 2018, but the number of administration and support staff members fell from 166 to 152.

The accounts stress that the school still provides 'excellent education' for students, so much so that 'increasing numbers of schools are requesting to join the partnership.'