Mum scales new heights to help school in wake of council cuts

Julie Ashworth hopes to raise �3000 for essential maths materials
Julie Ashworth hopes to raise �3000 for essential maths materials
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A MOTHER-OF-TWO is aiming to hep her children’s school cope with education cuts by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Julie Ashworth, whose sons Angus, nine, and Torrin, six, attend Stockbridge Primary, hopes to raise thousands of pounds to pay for “basics” such as textbooks for the school.

Julie with sons Angus and Torrin

Julie with sons Angus and Torrin

Ms Ashworth, 48, has been raising money for the school for several years and believes that parent fundraising is needed now more than ever for essential items rather than extras, following a series of council budget cuts.

She hopes to raise at least £3000, which the headteacher has said could be used to buy new maths materials.

Ms Ashworth, who lives in the New Town, said: “I was chair of the PTA for the last two years and last year we raised over £25,000 and have managed to refurbish the outdoor play area.

“However, the PTA is restricted by its own constitution over what it can raise money for as it should be things that can enhance children’s education in addition to what is provided at core.

“Recent public sector cuts mean that our children’s schools have to do more with less.

“At my sons’ school, the annual non-staff budget is round £50,000 and the majority of that goes on energy costs.

“That leaves the headteacher with very little discretionary budget for all other necessities.

“Books get tatty and need to be replaced and teachers need new resources to meet the demands of the new Curriculum for Excellence.

“As a PTA, buying basic things wasn’t something we could really support so I thought I would go and raise some money myself to be used for core items.

“It’s things the council should be funding and you can debate the rights and wrongs of it until the cows come home, but at the end of the day, if there’s no money for these things, it’s the kids who suffer.”

Ms Ashworth, who runs her own consultancy firm, only decided to undertake the challenge last month, and has given herself just four months to complete the training to equip her to climb the world’s tallest freestanding mountain.

She climbs Arthur’s Seat two or three times a week and the Pentlands once a week and does a 15-mile endurance walk every Monday.

She said: “The training is horrific.

“Let’s just say I’ve become very familiar with Arthur’s Seat and the Pentlands.

“My sons think it’s great what I’m doing, although they’re not so keen on getting dragged up Arthur’s Seat on a regular basis.”

Ms Ashworth will be joined by a fellow Stockbridge parent Helen Maguire, who is raising money for Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope on the trek in January.

Pupils from Stockbridge Primary are making a flag for them to fly when they reach the top of Kilimanjaro.

All funds raised by Ms Ashworth will be donated to Friends of Stockbridge Primary, a charity set up by the school’s Parent Teacher Association.