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To think DD's school could have managed expectations a little better.

(45 Posts)
Tallalime Tue 30-Apr-13 21:27:44

DD is in reception.

Her school are running a school trip, for reception and Yr 1, to a local castle. The day that they sent the letter home, they had obviously talked to the children about it and DD was beside herself with excitement. She has mentioned it pretty much every day since, "how many sleeps 'til the castle", "I can't WAIT to have my packed lunch at the castle", "Me and X and Y are going to be cats (I know, confused ) at the castle" etc etc. They have spoken about the trip at school several times since as well, last week they all made crowns to wear "on the bus" and painted pictures of castles and dragons.

Today, her class teacher was speaking to the parents as they dropped the children off to tell them that not enough people had paid for the trip (which is fine, I only managed to scrape the money together on Monday so fair enough) and it was quite likely going to be cancelled.

At bed time, the last words out of DD's mouth were "is it the castle tomorrow?"

If the trip is cancelled she is going to be really upset, DH and I will take her anyway, but obviously that won't be the same, as we're unlikely to 'be cats' with her there, and we won't be able to tailor the trip to appeal to 4-6yr olds the way that school trips are.

Am I unreasonable to think that the school could have held off on making a big deal out of the trip (it's another 2.5 weeks til they are supposed to go from now) when they weren't sure it was going to go ahead?

I completely understand why they may have to cancel, but I think they could have made less of an issue about going - especially given the age of the audience. I can explain to DD that there wasn't enough money to go - she will offer to pay with her money etc etc. I know if they cancel tomorrow, there will be tears, lots of them, and it will be brought up tearfully for days (she's one of those children who has to go over and over and over things that bother her). I am a little annoyed.

Finola1step Tue 30-Apr-13 21:31:03

So there are lots of parents who have not yet paid. The school are probably quite annoyed and sending out the pay up or it will be cancelled message. Don't worry at this stage. Cut down the talking about it at home just in case.

My money is on the trip going ahead. Hope I'm not proved wrong.

toomuchtoask Tue 30-Apr-13 21:31:29

Hardly their fault. They told the children about the trip. Parents didn't pay = no trip. I don't see what they've done wrong. How very dare they let the children get excited.

harryhausen Tue 30-Apr-13 21:32:42

Yes. I think they shouldn't have mentioned it to them as a definite thing.

At our school we get a 'feasibility' letter first in all the book bags. We have to sign it, saying we'd like to go (and are willing to pay the money). Then a few days later we get the 'we are going on x date, please sign and send in money etc'.

Did they do a letter first or just tell all the kids?

YANBU. Little kids get so excited about trips, I agree that the school should have held off from making a big deal about it until they were certain that it was going ahead.

I would also be a bit annoyed, although not enough to say anything to the teacher.

Can completely understand where you are coming from (and also have a DD who would be looking forward to being a cat at the castle or other such random creature!) Hope it does go ahead, but that she isn't too upset if they cancel.

BornToFolk Tue 30-Apr-13 21:37:25

They have spoken about the trip at school several times since as well, last week they all made crowns to wear "on the bus" and painted pictures of castles and dragons.

Well, I expect they are doing some project work around castles, to fit in with the school trip? DS (in Reception) went on a school trip to a farm in his first term so they did work around farm animals, things that grow etc. So, it's not that school's been making a big deal of the trip, just that they are naturally talking about a lot of castle-related things as that's the focus of learning at the moment.

It's a shame if your DD ends up being disappointed but I don't think that they could have done much else.

41notTrendy Tue 30-Apr-13 21:43:23

Yabu. What else could they have done? They booked a trip, discussed it to prepare children then have been let down. There would be people complaining if the school had sprung it on them.
However, the school may know they'd face this situation so have purposely made a fuss in the hope it prompts more people to pay.

StanleyLambchop Tue 30-Apr-13 21:43:46

I think she will still enjoy it if she goes with you and DH- can she make a crown with you to wear, and I am sure you would both love to pretend to be cats!! A lot of castles have fun trails for children to follow.

Which castle is it? <nosey>

Although I do think that the enough parents will pay up between now & then for it still to go ahead.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 30-Apr-13 21:47:39

I agree with BornToFolk. They will have been talking about it because it fits in with what they are learning about at the moment, they aren't doing it just for the sake of getting the children over excited.

I'd be more cross with the parents that haven't paid than I would with the school who are just trying to provide a stimulating curriculum or the children they teach.

WorraLiberty Tue 30-Apr-13 21:50:07

If they didn't make a big deal of it, they'd probably get even less people willing to pay, as they'd assume their kids weren't really that interested.

Catch 22 really sad

WipsGlitter Tue 30-Apr-13 21:51:43

How much is the trip?

I find this "voluntary" payment really odd. At the schools my DC went to, there was a price (and maybe people on free school dinners could get subsidised) and if you didn't pay, your child didn't go.

None of the trips were terribly expensive. Why don't schools say, "This is the trip, this is the cost".

Shit - I missed out a crucial fact. We are in Scotland.

littleducks Tue 30-Apr-13 21:52:54

Is the trip particularly expensive? I wonder if the school is just as surprised that many parents haven't paid. Our school mainly goes cheap trips, as we are outer London so they go via tube (for free) to free/cheap venues. However everybody pays on the pay for trips.

I don't think a school should have to send out a feasibility letter for every trip, there is so much planning that goes in beforehand. I know for example dd's teachers visited the zoo a couple if months before the trip.

StanleyLambchop Tue 30-Apr-13 21:53:20

The price of the coach really pushes the cost up apparently.

Mspontipine Tue 30-Apr-13 21:53:31

This happens with almost every trip ds goes on. It's organised then not enough parents pay and they have to keep warning parents and children that if not enough people pay up it will be cancelled.

This really pisses me off as though I'm sure some people genuinely cannot afford to pay but that these are few. Due to the possiblity of cancellation I'm assuming loads of people do not pay and this is because they don't see why they should when the payment is classed as 'voluntary.' Every trip letter states this and every trip letter also states that if not enough people pay the trip will not go ahead. It's awful to have it hanging over the kids at every trip sad

I'm not wealthy (sahm, single parent) but I appreciate what my son's school does for the children and am happy and proud to contribute we're talking £8/£10/£12 here not hundreds.

The PTFA have recently decided that funds will be used to contribute to travel costs for all trips which may help slightly but still will not get some ignorant gits to pay. [cross]

Mspontipine Tue 30-Apr-13 21:55:06

I mean angry

I've never known a trip be cancelled but I'm sure it does affect the planning of future excursions.

RFLmum Tue 30-Apr-13 21:56:05

At our school the PSA has a fund to help out with school trips if families can't afford it. Might be something to mention to the school . It means everyone can go and no one knows who has paid and who hasn't. You don't even have to apply for the funding - they just make up any shortfall if required.

KitNCaboodle Tue 30-Apr-13 21:57:09

I don't think schools are allowed to demand payment for trips, hence voluntary payments are asked for instead.
I agree that they would have been talking about the castle in context of a project or learning.
They're definitely getting the word out about viability to encourage more people to pay. I'd be surprised if the trip didn't go ahead.

decaffwithcream Tue 30-Apr-13 21:58:11

TBH since it's 2 and a half weeks away, there may be a sizeable number of parents who are intending to pay nearer the time (even if they are meant to pay by an earlier deadline). School may be trying to hurry them up.

tutu100 Tue 30-Apr-13 22:03:30

This happened with a trip my ds2 was going on. Children all very excited, but with a week to go some of the teachers let slip that less than 50% of parents had paid even though all children had returned permission to go slips. The school could not subsidise the trip by the amount needed and so it may have to be cancelled. Luckily that must have made some parents pay attention because enough parents then did pay the trip cost.

Any school trips that are deemed educationally necessary can not be compulsory payments so that no child misses out. This is why they can only ask for a voluntary payment, but some people take this piss with this. Obviously some people will not be able to afford to pay for trips, but then you get people like my SIL who doesn't pay for trips because she knows of other mums that don't bother so why should she (that attitude makes me seethe, but otherwise my sil is nice).

Our school always send out a breakdown of the trip costs asnd I am always amazed at how much of that cost is made up with the coach cost, however the school does go with the company with the best safety record and buses that exceed health and safety regs. The school also subsidises trips if it can and for trips that are more than £10 they allow you to pay in installments (eg £1 a week).

Mspontipine Tue 30-Apr-13 22:03:43

Is PSA like a PTFA? I think it's very unfair that those who chose not to pay take the money out of other children's hands - whether it's school money or PTFA money.

At our school there are those who blatently boast they do not pay (and probably could afford it - maybe buy a few less new skirts or something). sad

Tallalime Tue 30-Apr-13 22:04:00

It's not particularly expensive (a little over a tenner) but it is the most expensive trip they have done so far, and they have asked for the money at the end of the month this time - which affected me, so might affect some others.

DD's school is also a bit different in that its catchment area covers both the wealthiest and poorest parts of 'town'. So I can appreciate that it might be a real struggle for some parents to pay.

Like I say, I understand why they might have to cancel. I expect I am just being a bit pfb. I love it when DD gets excited about learning, and going to new places. They've just hit one of her current fads (princesses and space) so she's perhaps a little more invested in the trip than they (or I) could have expected.

I wouldn't complain - I dare say if they don't go, they'll have to put up with DD waxing lyrical about the time she was going to go to a castle and then she couldn't (almost certainly in song) for long enough that they'll get the picture anyway grin

TwinkleSparkleBling Tue 30-Apr-13 22:05:05

The voluntary part is there because we have to say that. Trips that are in school time have to be available to all-regardless of whether or not payment is given. However, there has to be enough money to cover the cost of the visit (transport, entry, cover staff). Difficult.

It would be upsetting for your dd I agree. Teachers also get upset when this happens (maybe not as much as your dad by the sounds of it). There will have been lots of time spent planning, risk assessing etc. More importantly we don't like it when the pupils miss out on a great opportunity.

I hope enough people pay up.

INeedSomeSun Tue 30-Apr-13 22:07:44

My Ds is going to a farm and the letter does not say 'voluntary' contributions. You have to pay to go & thats how it should be. You can pay in installments - it is £11. Most people handed the form back the very next day!

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