Joining forces with other schools is the key to overcoming the funding challenges affecting education across the country.

So say the executive headteacher of Shaftoe Trust Academy Carrie Hodgson and WISE Academies CEO Zoe Carr.

The Haydon Bridge primary is one of five schools run locally by WISE Academies and has had to come up with some innovative ways to create a balanced budget, including sharing resources with other schools run by WISE.

Mrs Carr said: “The benefit of school partnerships is by sharing resources, we can do more for less.What we aren’t doing is going out and asking for cash donations, which some schools are.

“We all, across the country, need to petition the government to give more money for education and to make a case to the government to say we need more funding to run our schools.”

The school has been criticised by a minority of parents about funding issues at the school, with concerns raised over the merging of some classes, as well as the removal of a native speaking Spanish teacher and the school’s PE teacher’s reduction in hours, as well as requests for materials to improve the staff room.

One parent, who asked not to be named, claimed that parents were often asked to provide supplies and books to the school.

She said: “Since the start of this term, the school has had a WISE Academy Facebook group.

“It seems like every week there’s a request for help to do basic tasks like photocopying.”

But Mrs Hodgson explained: “The staff room was awful, it was really bad. I as the head did not feel right spending money that I’m given to spend on the education of children on the staff room. The parents want to be part of the life of the school. They’ve always come in to help with photocopying. We don’t force anyone to.

“I would like to say we’re streamlining rather than making cuts.”

Mrs Carr added: “We need to move away from the idea that mixed classes are a bad thing. If we thought it was detrimental we wouldn’t have done it, but it’s not.”

And members of staff at the school had nothing but praise for the way the school was being run.

Assistant headteacher Victoria Binovec added: “As a staff we have worked tirelessly to provide a rich, learning environment for children with super support from parents. This is no different to other local schools which are asking for cash donations, constantly fund-raising and seeking practical support from their parents.”