THE LEADER of an under-funded school led a team of fundraising teachers in a bid to overcome crippling budget pressures.

John Micklewhite, head teacher of Birch Copse Primary School, took part in the Thames Path Challenge on Saturday and Sunday.

The head teacher told the Chronicle his school depends on fundraising and charity to simply 'balance the books' with funding at its lowest point during his time in charge.

He said: "We have an amazing parent and teachers association who do a great job at raising money for the school.

"We used to be able to use the money for extras, but now the money is being used to balance the books and it is a huge part of the way the school purchases everyday supplies.

"This year we need to raise even more money on our own to simply finish with a balanced budget. Money is being stripped all over the country and I would hope education would be preserved to allow us as teachers to give children the best possible opportunities."

Mr Micklewhite was joined by deputy head Paul Massey, as well as Jenna Rixon and Amy Richardson for the 100km challenge.

Each teacher clocked-up 157,000 steps and battled through blisters and rain to reach the finish line, with more than £4,000 raised so far.

Mrs Rixon came up with the idea to raise money for the school and it is hoped the funds will allow Birch Copse to purchase new equipment for their I.T suite.

Mr Mickelwhite added: "We would normally raise money for an external project or charity, but we are having to address problems before they arise.

"We have been forced to make cuts and we are not spending money like we used to.

"The equipment is something the school has needed for a long time. It is a large school and I am proud to work with such a brilliant team.

"We all encouraged each other and even though there were a few minor injuries we made it to the finish line."

Visit: to make a donation to the fundraising page.