to not pay full whack for this school trip?

(145 Posts)
LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 14:52:14

DCs' school has arranged an educational visit for KS2, priced at £12 per child with a suggested limit of £3 per child spending money. We have two dc in KS2, if we pay full price and give them £1 - £3 spending money it will come in at £26 - £30 (I know spending money isn't essential but I would feel a bit shit if my dc were watching everyone else pick something iut in the shop but had nothing for themselves). We have had loads to pay out in the last few weeks and quite frankly money is tight at the moment.

The form does state that it's a voluntary contribution but if 80% of the full cost isn't raised then the trip would be cancelled. We have always paid in full for every trip but AIBU to think we need to cut our cloth at the moment and pay a reduced contribution?

I ask this because I found out when dc3 was going in a trip last year that not all parents pay the full cost (part of the payment for a trip fell out of the envelope into her bag, I took it in the next day and the TA said "Oh we didn't like to say some money was missing because some parents choose not to pay the full amount".

This might sound wrong but the school has a tiny proportion of children on FSM and a large number of professional parents. It's got me thinking whether we've effectively been subsiding other parents who choose not to pay 100%, and whether I'm being tight for considering it this time when we have had a financially hard month?

UniS Wed 02-Oct-13 14:54:01

Can you afford 80% ?

YABU...and tight..... if you can afford to pay the full price.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 02-Oct-13 14:57:32

YABU.

If you had posted saying that you were upset because you simply couldn't afford to pay for your children to go on the trip without sacrificing meals for yourselves, then it would be different, but if there is any way you can afford it, then you should pay.

You aren't subbing parents who don't pay because schools aren't allowed to profit from school trips, they are only allowed to charge reasonable costs for each child. The parents who didn't pay would have been subbed by the school funds, meaning that they couldn't be spent elsewhere. Or they may have been subbed by the PTA, or the pupil premium if they are eligible for free school meals. The latter is very unfair on the rest of us that struggle financially but don't quite qualify for FSMs, but that's the way it is.

Having children costs money, and if you want your children to go on the trip, you need to pay.

HormonalHousewife Wed 02-Oct-13 14:57:40

I bet you wont have been subsidising other parents.

I bet the majority of them pay the full amount.

In all my years I have never paid less than asked for.

DamnBamboo Wed 02-Oct-13 14:59:10

It's voluntary in as much as you don't have to send your child.

Either pay or don't pay, but don't expect other parents to subsidise you by paying less.

DamnBamboo Wed 02-Oct-13 15:00:09

Oh yeah, YABVU and quite frankly, rather tight.

Schools aren't allowed to profit from school trips at all, they don't inflate the price to pay for those who can't pay, or can't pay all of it.

Complete nonsense

olgaga Wed 02-Oct-13 15:02:46

The question you need to be asking (yourself) is"Can we afford it?" not "Do I want to pay it".

if you genuinely can't afford it most schools will invite you to discuss the matter with a named member of staff.

If you don't want to pay because you think you've been subsidising people who could pay but don't want to, perhaps you should do just that - but tbh I wouldn't draw that conclusion on the basis of one casual remark.

lljkk Wed 02-Oct-13 15:02:59

Just wait until they go to secondary and the trips cost £190+. You'll be thinking blissfully back the days when you baulked at a mere extra £15.

Don't be so mean. Pay it if you can.

LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 15:10:49

Ok have skim read replies but have to go out now. Will come back to this later. Thanks.

Btw, I don't think I'm being mean, rather I'm being worried about money. There's a difference. As BrokenSunglasses said there are some of us who struggle financially but don't qualify for FSM.

DamnBamboo Wed 02-Oct-13 15:14:27

If you're worried about money, talk to the school about a payment plan or make the decision for them not to go.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 02-Oct-13 15:15:09

Ask the school if you can pay it in two parts to spread it out a little if this is a tight month, but you really should pay the full cost if you expect your children to go.

meditrina Wed 02-Oct-13 15:18:34

If you are in hardship, then pay what you can afford.

It does unfortunately mean fewer trips for schools with adverse demographics, but teachers should be used to dealing tactfully with those in straitened circumstances. Hardship funds or PTA might cover some shortfalls, though.

Jinty64 Wed 02-Oct-13 15:23:50

At our school it is not a voluntary contribution. You pay for your child to go or they don't go. In cases of extreme hardship I'm sure the school may be willing to to come to an arrangement for an individual child. Would a relative (grandparent or Auntie) pay towards the trip for a birthday or Christmas present?

LemonBreeland Wed 02-Oct-13 15:27:38

YANBU. If the trip is educational it should be affordable for all. Ideally the school should be asking for a small contribution from you towards travel etc. Our school never ask for that kind of money for trips.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 02-Oct-13 15:32:41

YABU. It sounds like it's not that you really cannot afford but you don't want to.

Trumpdog Wed 02-Oct-13 15:33:36

I've often not paid. Originally we couldn't afford it, full stop. So then I realised paying really wasn't mandatory. Then come in the £240 bills for 4 nights residential. Gave dkids the choice between the 7 night extra curricular trip at half the price, or the school residential, and they chose the extra curricular one.

I know schools aren't supposed to make profits, etc, but if our extra curricular group can take the kids for longer for half the price, something is going wrong! So anyway, the HT calls me in and they offered to pay for the dkid to go, since they were very keen to have the whole school participate, so off dkid went.

I really think that school trips are outdated and unnecessary now. Next year dd can go to Spain for a week to practice her spanish, £550. I took all of us to France for two weeks last year on that, and she still didn't manage barely a word of french. I put a lot of time and effort into making our money go as far as possible and making sure the kids have fantastic experiences, even though we are on a relatively low income with more children than most. They have done everything that has ever been offered on a school trip, and they get the time with their peers away from parents on the far more reasonably priced extra curricular ones once a year.

So I find it really hard to pay the inflated prices on school trips, and I rarely do pay it. I don't want to pay £25 for them to go on a coach to somewhere I've already taken them to a few times. I can take the whole family to somewhere educational for half of that.

Summerblaze Wed 02-Oct-13 15:33:58

At our school we had a few people who didn't pay for trips. This message has now got round and the school is facing more people not paying, just because they have heard that other people don't. Because of this the school is either asking for top ups from the PTA or cancelling the trip altogether.

I am a member of the PTA and it pisses me off that mine and other hard work and dedication is going on subbing parents who can't be arced to pay instead of the nice xmas parties etc that we are supposed to be raising funds for.

If a parent has a genuine reason not to pay as in "can't afford to", there is a sentence on the end of each note stating that they can discuss with the school.

Its just rude if you can pay but don't.

bicyclefish Wed 02-Oct-13 15:55:44

IT may not be the schools themselves that are making money from school trips, but you can bet a pound to a penny that someone is trousering a premium just because its a school trip in the same way as if you go to a venue and tell them you want to hire for a 50th Birthday event you will get a much better price than if you go and tell them you are planning a wedding... We all know that school trips (especially the ones abroad) are overpriced for what they actually are and that the 'educational' elements on those trips are far outweighed by the, shall we say 'personal developments' that occur on the trips (well that was what they were like on m French trip)
Trumpdog makes some good points and, while i'm lucky enough at teh moment to be able to afford the day trips i'm pretty sure that when my DC's are old enough to go on the longer trips, we may well look at this differently.
i don't think you are being unreasonable if you CANNOT afford it, as most here have said, but will not afford it is different.

bearleftmonkeyright Wed 02-Oct-13 16:08:10

Sometimes we have had visitors into school which we have been asked to pay for. I do resent this, as there is no choice to pay. Op, I think yanbu. I often find some weeks more difficult than others. Pay what you can and don't worry about it. We had a visiting tropical animal zoo come into school. It was great.but they wanted £6 per child. I had three in primary last year. I know these amounts don't seem like a lot but its never ending and noone can be left out at primary school. They can at secondary school and often are because trips abroad are prohibitively expensive. My dd is year 7 and will not be going to Normandy in July.

pixiepotter Wed 02-Oct-13 16:27:56

I can afford to pay but sometimes don't if I think the trip is crap and DC don't want go.Same with school swimming lessons.Takes up a whole morning for about 20 minutes in the water £5.
Local high school does lessons for local children to raise school funds charging £2 for an hour's class using PE teachers and 6th formers.

pixiepotter Wed 02-Oct-13 16:28:30

so I don'r pay for the school lessons

BrokenSunglasses Wed 02-Oct-13 16:29:01

If you think the trip is crap and you don't want to pay then that's fine. Just don't send your children on it.

Trumpdog Wed 02-Oct-13 17:22:18

unfortunately there isn't always that choice any more though is there? It is either the whole class or nobody. I wish there was a choice not to send them, as there was when I was a child. With the primary residential trip, the dkid and I were happy for them to stay home, but it was the school who desperately wanted them to attend. Thankfully now we are in secondary, trips ARE optional.

LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 17:37:06

Ok: yes, of course children cost money, however when our dc were born we were better off. DH has had his pay frozen for the past four years, doesn't even get an inflationary pay rise; I lost my job. Money is now tighter.

As I said we have had to pay out a lot this last few weeks. i will probably pay the full amount for the trip but it will have to come out of the food budget. The forms state that no child will be a refused a place because of inability to pay but if 80% of the full total (for all the children) is not received then the trip may be cancelled. So most people probably pay full amount, some may decide to pay 50%, some may opt for 75%, but the money received from all parents needs to total 80% or more. That's why I'm saying it seems some parents might end up subsidising others, and that was only something I found out by accident from the TA's comment.

Over the last few years have always paid full price for any school trips. We have attended school fairs and fetes and spent money there. We have bought raffle tickets, donated to hampers and stalls, sponsored the dc for various things and contributed to the school as much as we can.

However this month it's tight. Nearly £30 is a lot of money and my heart sank a bit when I read how much it was going to be.

I think the idea of having a word and asking to pay in a couple of instalments is a good one actually.

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