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?

kangarooshoes Thu 03-Oct-13 23:45:59

Ask the school.

"In the next year, how much do you envisage I will need for trips?"

I asked on the show round how many trips there were (loads- about one per term) and how much contribution was required (usually about £5). Okay.

If the school can't/won't tell you, then moan about that. But don't just not pay "full whack" out of some sense of unfairness/entitlement.

The teachers probably frequently self fund courses/post grad qualifications that will help them in their work or are necessary. I bet few of them are fun. I don't think that's relevant.

Education is good value. Don't resent a bit extra paid here and there, because no one posting on mumsnet (by default has internet and a computer, and is therefore 'rich' in global terms) can't work out a way to pay £30, even in installments. Get a grip.

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 23:53:55

I have plenty of grips, thank you.

I also believe that individuals should have choices in their lives.

Ask the school.

"In the next year, how much do you envisage I will need for trips?"

Read the guidance, kangarooshoes. If they answered £5 a term*, they would not be acting in the spirit of the guidance. The only correct answer to that question would be "You won't need to pay anything, but we might suggest voluntary contributions for some activities, which you are welcome to make, or not, as you wish'.

This is not a case of 'resenting a bit extra here and there', it's a case of ensuring that people are fully appraised of their choices.

amistillsexy Fri 04-Oct-13 00:02:16

"I asked...how much contribution was required"

The contribution is voluntary, don't forget...

vol·un·tar·y
/ˈvälənˌterē/
Adjective
Done, given, or acting of one's own free will: "voluntary contributions".
Noun
An organ solo played before, during, or after a church service.
Synonyms
adjective. volunteer - spontaneous - wilful - willing - deliberate
noun. volunteer

con·tri·bu·tion
/ˌkäntrəˈbyo͞oSHən/
Noun
1.A gift or payment to a common fund or collection.
2.The part played by a person or thing in bringing about a result or helping something to advance.
Synonyms
share - donation

re·quire
/riˈkwī(ə)r/
Verb
1.Need for a particular purpose; depend on for success or survival.
2.Cause to be necessary.
Synonyms
demand - want - need - claim - call for - ask

Would you ask 'what sort of willing gift will you demand?'

Does that put a different slant on this for you?

LazyGaga Fri 04-Oct-13 01:16:57

amistillsexy I thank you for taking up the good fight. These obtuse posters who don't read the thread properly or have their particular axe to grind just wear you out ultimately or I just want to tell them to fuck off but that won't help.

thanks

LazyGaga Fri 04-Oct-13 01:28:02

Oh yes, and has "Get a grip" not already been determined as the most fucking tedious phrase on this forum. Read my previous posts on the thread. It's a one off ffs. angry to kangaroo

amistillsexy Fri 04-Oct-13 07:42:38

grin loving our love-ins, LazyGaga.

Your situation is one that many, many of us are in, or will find ourselves in over the next few years.

I don't think some people are aware how hard this recession is hitting some families, and how divisive this government has been. It's very subtle, the way the 'haves' have been allowed to Hector and bully the 'have nots', but this attitude is indicitive of the way society is going.

Torys are very good at setting people against each other. Some people, unfortunately, don't realise when they've been brainwashped.

BrokenSunglasses Fri 04-Oct-13 08:38:44

People are aware how hard it is for some families, but that understanding doesn't automatically mean that they think school trips should stop being offered completely, which is what you seem to want.

How would banning school trips give parents more choice? It would do the opposite for most families by taking away an option for them.

Parents can't access educational programmes in certain places that are only offered to schools and groups, so you would actively deny people a choice so that you don't have to make one.

Asking to pay in instalments because you are having a particularly tight month is a reasonable and valid option to families that are struggling with money.

I think it's you that's been brainwashed if you think 'voluntary contribution' means that you don't have to pay and that there won't be any consequences for other children if you don't.

If schools have this answer you want "You won't need to pay anything, but we might suggest voluntary contributions for some activities, which you are welcome to make, or not, as you wish'. then it wouldn't be worth the time it takes for teachers to research and plan activities because if enough people didn't pay, then the trip simply couldn't happen.

How would that result in schools doing their best for all children? How would that give our children the best possible education they can get in the state sector?

All it would do is mean that some parents wouldn't have to feel uncomfortable asking the school if they can pay in instalments, but I think a little bit if minor parental discomfort is a very small price to pay for everyone's children being taken on trips.

Incidentally, I had to go into school and ask if I could pay for my ds's Y6 residential in longer instalments than the school had already suggested. I think the overall price of the trip was around £300, and I needed a month extra to pay for the full cost. When I went to see the head I had barely finished asking my question before she was reassuring me it was no problem for me to pay in the way i needed to and I didn't need to worry about it. It was a complete non issue.

bearleftmonkeyright Fri 04-Oct-13 09:28:55

Brokensunglasses, the fact that you can afford _£300 in installments in a residential tri outside the curriculum is beside the point. Those trips are optional and many children will not attend. You can pay £300 and have that choice. Planned school trips that forn part of the curriculum and are referred to in lessons are not the same. If a child sits in class whilst the teacher refers to a window or pattern in a mosque or a part of a castle etc. If that child has not attended because the parent cannot pay then the child cannot take part adequately in the lesson. Every child matters, its a primary school ethos and forms part of legislation. If you can afford a residential trip for your child then wonderful. But that is not the same as planned curriculum trips and you know it.

bearleftmonkeyright Fri 04-Oct-13 09:32:55

I have also never said I want primary school trips to stop but it would happen if not every child went as they would be a pointless exercise, as not every child would be able to take part in class discussion

BrokenSunglasses Fri 04-Oct-13 09:36:07

Yes I do know it, bit I'm not sure where I said any different? confused

I honestly don't see the difference between asking to pay in instalments for a curriculum based trip and asking to pay in instalments for an extra curricular trip. It's the same conversation.

Surely planned school trips that are part of the curriculum and referenced in lessons because it supports children's learning are even more of a reason to put yourself out and have a conversation with your school.

When it's a choice between that, and all children being denied the trip, which is what will happen if the school doesn't take money away from somewhere else, then I honestly can't understand parents who wouldn't do everything they possibly can to pay for their children.

bearleftmonkeyright Fri 04-Oct-13 09:45:58

But there is always going to be that element who can't pay or won't pay. I can't think of a trip I haven't paid for. I have often been late paying. I still owe dinner money from the start of term. But my dp works, I work part time and I find it hard enough. My parents are paying for my ds residential of £180. In installments because they are struggling also. But that trip is optional. I just think if you are unemployed, ill and depressed by your financial situation you would.not contact the school and set up a payment plan and I am not sure whether the school could allow it for those trips that are voluntary contributions.

BrokenSunglasses Fri 04-Oct-13 09:59:26

You're right, if you were particularly depressed by your financial situation it may well be very hard for you to go to the school and ask to pay in instalments, or ask that your child be excluded from the costing calculations because they won't be going, but I still think parents in this position should do it.

The alternative is that all children miss out educationally, and that is not an acceptable solution in my mind.

Schools can and do set up payment plans for curriculum based trips that are funded by 'voluntary contributions'.

LazyGaga Fri 04-Oct-13 10:13:58

BrokenSunglasses I realise this comment:

"I think it's you that's been brainwashed if you think 'voluntary contribution' means that you don't have to pay and that there won't be any consequences for other children if you don't."

was directed at amistillsexy, but please, do me a huge favour and find the bit in my posts where I say I'm not going to pay for the trip and stuff the consequences.

While you're looking you might come across the posts where I've stated several times we have always paid in full for every cost/fee/contribution incurred by our dc attending this school. Also, the bit where I said I'm going to ask the HT if I can pay in two instalments this particular time.

I have no desire to end educational visits at primary school level. Secondary school - different ball game. A secondary in this area offered a trip, to be taken during term time, to Las Vegas and LA last year to Y11s, coming in at around £1500. Educational? I think not tbh. A bit shitty, divisive and alienating for those kids whose parents haven't got a hope in hell of finding that sort of money? Yes, I think it is. If wealthy parents can afford to send their dc off to the States then fair enough, do it in their own time. School has no place promoting this sort of inequality.

bearleftmonkeyright Fri 04-Oct-13 10:14:18

It's a rock and a hard place sunglasses. Cancelling the trip is not acceptable also. If you have paid and others havent that is not fair also. I do think if trips are important they should come out of school budget in an ideal world of course. I can see this becoming a bigger and bigger problem as more and more parents will not be paying and school will not be able to cover those who haven't.

BrokenSunglasses Fri 04-Oct-13 10:28:05

Lazy, if you realise that my comment wasn't aimed at you, why would I need to bother finding posts belonging to you that it responds to?

If you are going to do your best to pay for the trip by asking for instalments then you are doing exactly what I'd agree you should do, so you and I have no issue. But other posters come and give their views on a thread, and I can respond to them as well as the original poster.

I also agree with you that expensive trips to LA and the like shouldn't be taken during term time, but I don't think it's divisive in secondary schools in the same way you do. Secondary trips at that age are usually linked to GCSE and A Level options, so there is very little chance of a student ever being in a tiny minority of people who don't go.

My dcs secondary schools offer expensive trips and I've been putting money aside for them for years now, as well as telling then that they are not going to be able to go on every trip they would probably like to. On a personal note, I am very grateful that schools offer these trips because one of my dc has AS, and he is unlikely to be able to cope with travelling alone or with friends at 17/18 like most other students could. School trips are a brilliant way for him to increase his independence and do things without a parent around. I need the school to offer these things for my child to have the best chance possible of becoming a successful and independent adult.

LazyGaga Fri 04-Oct-13 11:05:17

I mentioned it because amistillsexy have agreed on everything so far, so it felt in a broader sense it was referring to me also. It feels like we're viewed as parents who won't pay, won't budget so they can pay, won't sort of solutions like instalments and expect our dc to have all the benefits with other people subsidising it.

I just wanted to make the point that I have not, at any point considered not paying, and I've always paid in full for everything that's come up in my dc's school lives so far.

LazyGaga Fri 04-Oct-13 11:06:00

sort out solutions

LazyGaga Fri 04-Oct-13 11:19:13

On a lighter note I'm trying to work out to which subjects the Las Vegas/LA trip related: GCSE Gambling? GCSE Movie Production? GCSE Hollywood Star's Homes? Oh yes, they had the obligatory tour of the 'homes of the stars'.

I take point re your ds. That works for you. For my family, I'd rather that large sum of money was spent on something from which all five of us can benefit. Neither one of us is right or wrong.

bearleftmonkeyright Fri 04-Oct-13 11:20:28

Regarding paying in installments. If a trip has been planned and say 1 in 5 parents come forward and say they can't pay but I can pay £2 a week until its paid. If the trip goes ahead the coach and entrance need to be paid on the back of the promises of those parents that they will pay at some point. If you are that hard up to make that kind of arrangenent there is a good chance those parents will default. What happens then? The trip will have happened, coach paid for out of school budget. The school cannot go over budget. So unless the pta can fund then the safest thing the school can do is cancel for all. I can't see installments in those instances working. For residential trips struggling parents would not be able to cover the deposit, so they just wouldnt ever go. These are optional, parents know if they can afford them or not.

clam Fri 04-Oct-13 18:46:55

I'll just throw this one in: residential trip coming up at my school. One child has had the whole trip funded by school, and has been telling classmates that s/he's going for free and that their parents are stupid for paying up. It now turns out that this child's parents have told the teacher that s/he "doesn't want to go anymore," so is staying behind.

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