SCHOOLS should not be afraid to turn to local communities to fill cash shortages, an Oxford headteacher has said.

It comes as parents and residents raised almost £30,000, with some even setting up monthly standing orders, to alleviate funding pressures at Wolvercote Primary School.

Through the generous donations and a number of fundraising events in the village, new interactive whiteboards and digital microscopes have already been bought and new outdoor play areas and a mini allotment for children could soon follow.

The ongoing appeal could also fund music and drama workshops and educational trips - which feature on the parent governors 'shopping list' and could be under threat.

Executive head of Wolvercote Primary School and neighbouring Cutteslowe Primary School, Jon Gray, said: "Schools have got to start thinking like this, if you are lucky enough to have a group of parents willing to put themselves forward and support the school, you can't really say no.

"All schools will be thinking about ways to make sure they are protecting frontline services - but this has meant we can afford things we wouldn't be able to from our budget.

"For example we desperately needed interactive boards, they were about 18 years old, and we wouldn't have been to budget for that in the next five years even."

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran praised the school's efforts, but said it should not have come to this.

A new Government funding formula, which promised to distribute cash more fairly, came into force last month but Oxfordshire County Council, parents and schools said it was barely having an impact.

Wolvercote Primary School's parent governors launched the appeal last year over fears that many aspects of the children's education were under threat.

The school has now revealed that £19,000 has been raised with a further £10,100 pledged and additional monthly donations coming in.

Headteacher Lucy Young said: "We have been very touched and overwhelmed by the response - a lot of people have come forward with a whole range of gifts, some one-off payments and some have set up monthly donations.

"We have been able to fund things for the children that given the current budget constraints we can't provide."

"In an ideal world schools would have enough money to provide everything they wanted but we are having real difficulties and our parents have responded to that amazingly."

The pair praised the dedicated team of parent governors - Austen Cook, Felice Nassar and Rob Whitty - and the 'incredible generosity' of families and friends of the school.

Mr Whitty, who has three children, said the Government should provide schools with more funding and the generosity of parents should not be 'relied on'.

He said: "We are always pleased when parents and people in the local community donate to help the school - but it's never enough and it's ongoing.

"Parents have been brilliant and the Parent Teacher Association have done some amazing work in organising fundraisers and village fetes."

He added: A lot of people in the area feel very lucky to have this school - but it should not be down to the parents to support the school financially."

He added: "What we've done is not something I would necessarily recommend [other parents and communities to do] but it's the only way forward and the only way this school is going to get the level of support it deserves."

Chief executive of the River Learning Trust, which runs the school, Paul James, said: "It is well known that there is insufficient school funding for schools to be able to deliver everything they would want for their pupils, and particularly in Oxfordshire, which is in the lowest 40 funded local authorities in the country.

"It is of course fantastic that parents have responded to support our pupils at Wolvercote.

"While acknowledging that the school would ideally not have to make such requests, it does shows the commitment of both the school and parents to provide the best possible educational for our pupils, even when there is a national funding shortage."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We are investing an additional £1.3 billion in school funding, over and above existing plans, with core schools funding rising from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £43.5 billion in 2019-20.

"Schools in Oxfordshire would attract an increase in funding of three per cent on average if the national funding formula were implemented in full, subject to changes in pupils. This increase is equivalent to £10.5 million."