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To ask if your state school asks for lots of money?

(65 Posts)
happynewmind Mon 21-Jan-13 16:27:34

Because this week I have paid for one child £10 dinner money, £20 for four tickets for junior play, 20 pound trip money for this year, 20 pound residential trip depositmoney for later this year, add to this requests for a Chinese dress for Chinese day, a dress for Victorians day.

Then optional of 32 pound instrument hire and 28 pound group lesson.

It's Monday sad

happynewmind Mon 21-Jan-13 16:30:36

and we were completely lured in and hadn't realised cost amounts for the music lessons as they had them free before this and I can't cancel until Easter.

mrsjay Mon 21-Jan-13 16:41:28

god that is loads you think they could spread the cost a bit, saying that i made a payment to dds school trip abroad today 100 quid OUCH

no, I havent been asked for any money recently. I did put £5 on dd's school dinner card. We havent had notification of any trips but they are normally fairly cheap. We dont tend to have dress up days - more likely to have a dress down/wear your own clothes day - costs £1

I just had to write 2 snack money checks at £12 each, and a school trip payment of £10, plus the final installment of the yr6 trip, another £15

We got a letter today asking for £13.75 for DD to go and see The Tempest in March. The bit that pisses me off is it says "voluntary contribution" but the one time I didn't send trip money in because we didn't have it, they phoned and hassled me for it until I broke down in tears and told them they couldn't have what I haven't got, and they then said they would take DS anyway hmm and took him on the educational part, then detoured the coach back past the school and left him behind while everyone else went to the fun part sad
We also owe the last £50 for a trip to France, due in a fortnight, but that's DD's christmas present from my Mam so she'll give us that, or DD wouldn't be going.
I don't pay dinner money because we can't afford £30 a week. The weird thing is, if we had £20 a week less working tax credit, we'd get free dinners, but the dinner money would be more than £20 confused

Tee2072 Mon 21-Jan-13 18:10:54

Only snack money, £22.50 each term and £2 for Santa and Mrs Clause.

But he's only in preschool so who knows what it will be next year when he's in P1?

Hulababy Mon 21-Jan-13 18:11:57

I work in a state infant school. We are allowed to ask for up to £29.30 a year towards the voluntary donation for extra curricular/enrichment from each pupil.

This is separate from sponsorship/charity type things.

Samnella Mon 21-Jan-13 18:14:30

and took him on the educational part, then detoured the coach back past the school and left him behind while everyone else went to the fun part sad

PomBear - That is outrageous. shock Did you complain? I would be livid. Your poor son.

JoanByers Mon 21-Jan-13 18:15:46

I know some ask for LOTS of money.

"There are of course no fees, but we do ask for a voluntary and substantial contribution to the Tiffin Education Fund, without which we would not be able to offer the great breadth described in this booklet."

"The current suggested contribution is £520 per year, per child. This amounts to £10 per week and we believe that there is no better way to help your son’s education than this. Many families support at a higher level than this already."

CloudsAndTrees Mon 21-Jan-13 18:17:46

We had to pay nearly three hundred at the beginning of the school year, but that's for a week long residential, and two day trips. My children are benefiting so I expect to have to pay for things that will educate them and that they will enjoy.

The one I have at primary school has dinners twice a week at £1.90 a day, but I choose to pay that because I could give him packed lunches instead.

I have to provide a costume for a theme day next week, and I expect there will be more somewhere before the year is out. Children are expensive!

Yes. Loads of raffle tickets, non-uniform days which cost £1 otherwise kids have to wear uniform (wrong, wrong, wrong), school trip to Scotland costing almost £300 (although much cheaper trips were available so this was an option), £10 trips to the panto, the museum ..............

Thankfully my other two children are in different schools!

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 21-Jan-13 18:21:20

pombear you wouldn't get fsm.

Getting any wtc even if its only £1 automatically stops you getting fsm even if your income is under the cut off amount.

What upsets me though is that at my youngest son's school, despite all the fund raising, there seems to be no provision for those who can't afford to go on school trips. Son's best friend missed a Christmas trip to a museum and skating because his parents couldn't afford it. He was the only one in the year not to go and had to do work and reading all day on his own. Surely that is wrong. He was so gracious about it too [ sad]

LadyIsabellaWrotham Belgium Mon 21-Jan-13 18:25:16

Dinner money plus a quid or two for charity non-uniform days once a term. A quid if they want a drink and popcorn for film club twice a term.

That's about it, although there are cake and book sales at the end of the day, but they are very much optional.

All trips are free because they go on the TFL scheme.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 21-Jan-13 18:25:41

shock that Tiffin state that they think the best way for a parent to support their child's education is by giving them money! hmm Really? Wouldn't a child's education be better supported by involved parents that supervise work and provide a quiet space for homework to be done in, as well as helping to provide extra curricular activities?

I not surprised they ask for money though, my older ds's grammar school does the same. I don't pay it because i cant afford it, but I happily would if I could. But grammar schools seem to get very very little money from government compared to other schools, so they do need money from somewhere. I don't think that expecting parents to pay towards their own children's educational experiences is a bad thing.

Utterlylostandneedtogo Mon 21-Jan-13 18:26:03

£10 per child per week dinners
£10 per child per week breakfast club
They recently did the young voices concert at the O2 which I think all tolled was £40 per child for the 'essential' stuff then £22 plus travel costs per ticket and also dinner on top...

This term they have swimming at a voluntary £5 per week per child that I've refused to pay as its a legal curriculum requirement

Also they had a play come in that my mum deals with and they take it into school for free, the school tried to charge us £10 per child for that too...

And don't get me started on cost of after school childminder

PoppyWearer Mon 21-Jan-13 18:27:18

We got asked for loads last term, especially in the run up to Christmas (multiple raffles and tombolas), a non-uniform day every other week...it was way OTT. We live in a naice area and the money goes to fund school trips etc, but it's not like most parents can't afford those, whereas the begging for £1 here, £1 there for tickets is just fucking annoying. Just ask for a one-off donation, FFS!

Nothing yet this term besides dinner money, but it's a matter of time.

DC1 is in reception. God help me once the residential trips kick in!

Viviennemary Mon 21-Jan-13 18:34:01

I think there should be a cap on these 'voluntary' donations. Just because a school is in a reasonably affluent area doesn't mean there aren't people who are struggling. These schools who do this do it because they think they can get away with it. But it's not right or fair.

JoanByers Mon 21-Jan-13 18:39:33

It's just another way of segregating schools between middle class and not. Those with lots of wealthy parents get a premium education for almost nothing, and those without are stuck with whatever the government gives them.

Iteotwawki Mon 21-Jan-13 18:40:55

There is a "voluntary contribution" here which varies by school - at ours it's $50 per term (4 terms a year so $200). We also pay for all stationary; each class has a required list of exercise books, pens (including whiteboard markers for teachers), pencils, homepack - that comes to another $50 normally but should last the year. If it doesn't we have to replace whichever item is lost or used up.

We don't have to contribute to food because it isn't provided, though twice a week we have the option of paying for a Subway or sushi lunch.

Then there's gold coin donation days, mufti days, purple cupcake day (where I buy the ingredients, make and ice the cupcakes and then have to buy them back at $2 each!), school trips out ...

My son also has extension classes which have to be outsourced as the school is too small to offer its own programme, which is $455 per term plus voluntary donation of $60 per term (sent by way of invoice, not sure how voluntary it is but we haven't paid it yet!)

Education here is not free.

impty Mon 21-Jan-13 18:49:40

We get asked for £15 per child, per term for the school fund. I refuse to pay it. I asked what it went on, and got the vaguest of answers.

The school trips are expensive and do not seem to be assisted by the school fund. Teachers ask us to buy text books as there aren't enough to go round. School activities have a cost, school shows you buy the tickets.

Today I just paid the school £95 for various things, and that's an average month.

So the 'school fund' can do without my cash!

I think there needs to be a distinction between what is voluntary, what is requested by the PTA.

At the infant and junior school there is a request for a voluntary doation of £25 per pupil. If we choose school dinners we are charged £10 per week per child (can be subsidised/free if you fall into some benefit categories) and once a year we are asked to pay an amount towards a school outing (barely covers the bus hire and entrance).

The PTA organises things like the raffles, school fairs and mufti days - the money is raised for the school to pay for equipment, events and kit that is not covered by funding given to the school.

Personally, I would question any teacher who thinks it is appropriate to single out non-payers from a outing. Is the head aware of this - it can't be right

Adversecamber Mon 21-Jan-13 19:05:37

I don't really count dinner money.

There were two trips,DS didn't want to go on one and the other was a fundraiser for something that we had objections to so he didn't go. Neither of them were in school time either.

Impty - IIRC schools are now legally obliged to account for any voluntary contribution. (Both DCs schools have sections on their websites detailing contributions and expenditure)

kerala Mon 21-Jan-13 19:09:56

How can you begrudge paying your child's dinner money? Or afterschool care? Do you think these things should be provided by the state? Am baffled.

Trips cost money - if you take DC to the theatre it will be at least £30 its often cheaper if organised by the school. Would you all prefer if these things didnt happen at all <genuine question>.

Sabriel Mon 21-Jan-13 19:10:06

The huge bonus of DD going to a school with 40% FSM is that they rarely ask us for money grin

YR Y1 and Y2 recently went to the panto. The coaches were paid for by a cake sale (we have many of these and they go down very well - I've been impressed at how many parents bring in cakes), and I think the tickets came out of school budget - we certainly weren't asked for any money. We've only had to pay for the end of year trip in the summer, which I think was about £15.

Cinema night is free and the children only pay for popcorn which is less than £1, while the "better" school nearer our house that we couldn't get into charges £5 per child for cinema night plus an extra £1.50 for popcorn shock

spotsdots Mon 21-Jan-13 19:14:29

I don't mind contributing when I can but I hate when they say "voluntary contribution" and yet if you don't contribute, you are hounded down and threaten that the trip will be cancelled. The school now behaves like the sales people, they offer instalment so it works out e.g £1 a week so you have no excuse of saying I can't afford.grin.

So my hump is with the voluntary contribution crap. smile

kerala Mon 21-Jan-13 19:16:56

Still way cheaper for your child to go the panto with school - otherwise you have to pay for your adult ticket and siblings who wont want to be left out etc. And then you have to sit through a panto <horrors> am grateful when schools do trips like that.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Belgium Mon 21-Jan-13 19:17:52

Agree that dinner money only counts if a) it's unusually high and b) the school has packed lunch police so zealous that you are essentially forced to take school dinners.

Would it border on being a stroppy parent if the organiser was actually questioned about the voluntary cost?

loverofwine Mon 21-Jan-13 19:32:36

every year my kids' school writes to ask us to set up a DD to some special fund. Every year we ignore the envelope but I always wonder if the reason why they are not on the school council/singled out in plays etc. is because we haven't contributed to this.

BTW we pay £100 p/a (x4 kids)toward school trips plus lunches, endless cake sales etc. Its a good school but I innocently thought state school meant no extra charges (except lunch).

lljkk Netherlands Mon 21-Jan-13 19:34:19

I don't think it adds up to a lot, but it's lots of times, iyswim, I get confused about what I've paid or not (especially when school is closed or Dd forgets to hand an envelope in). 3 DC at same primary and they all need bits and pieces, 25p for a pen (much confusion about whether this is prerequisite or not), £2.15 for Circus skills demo, £2.10 for hot dinner, £1 for snack money this week, £3 contribution to that and £4 contribution to that. £51 for a term of violin hire & tuition (at least that was easy to pay by cheque and a receipt gets written).

I always seem to need small change in the house.

hermioneweasley Mon 21-Jan-13 19:34:26

But I bet there are plenty of people who would get away with not paying the voluntary contribution if they thought they could get away with it, so I expect the schools have to be persistent or events wouldn't take place at all. I really doubt the staff in the school enjoy chasing at all.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 21-Jan-13 19:44:00

You cant moan about dinners as its a responsibility to feed your child. Trips are extras, dont pay if you dont agree and leave your child in school. They are a hassle for teachers and admin staff but run for the benefit of the children.

PTA wise, im sure your children benefit from the extras so only fair that you donate.

Aybody would think it came as a surprise that it costs financially to have a child!

SminkoPinko Mon 21-Jan-13 19:55:05

Disgusted at the way the school treated your boy, pombar.

And shock at a school cinema club costing £5 per child and £1.50 extra for popcorn. Surely no one goes!

faulkernegger Mon 21-Jan-13 20:07:25

Many years ago, schools asked for trip money and if you didn't pay, you didn't go. Then it was deemed unfair that children should be left out in this way, so contributions became voluntary and now no child should be left behind at school because they didn't 'pay'. Letters from school usually state that unless enough contributions are received, the trip can't go ahead. i pay 5 pounds per month by standing order to my son's school and don't feel guilty if I don't make any cakes etc.

happynewmind Mon 21-Jan-13 20:11:30

Happymumofone im not moaning about feeding my child, I am not moaning about the benefit of trips.

It doesn't surprise me that a child costs money how patronising. When I had dd I was pat of a marriage with two good wages hence my decision to have a child.
I'm now a single working mother with no support financially or otherwise from exh who became abusive.

My dds previous school And the schools I have worked in asked for very little contribution wise because they were in deprived areas, they still provided a rich curriculum.

DDS school is in a middle class area (only place available when we fled) and asks constantly.

Its just difficult when you are on a low working income and you have a small financial buffer and you are asked for two costumes they will never wear again.

Of course my dc could be only one in uniform, not going on trip, not having a costume but as dd1 is sen she gets picked on enough for being different.

happynewmind Mon 21-Jan-13 20:24:08

I complained to school last year, I have no issue with trips not going ahead if not enough pay. But dc school were naming and shaming children who hadn't paid in a " you might not be going on your trip as L , S and C havent paid yet"
She did this until they paid up.

Dc school also do an event each half term where you have to provide enough stuff for your child to have their own fair type stall with all money going to charity, many mufti days and costumes.

Happynewmind - the teacher should be named and shamed instead.

I am angry on your behalf that the schools do this ... wrong on so many levels

That's all we get pixie the £20 a week, and we're not quite sure why. We did ask about ending the claim, so we could have free school meals, but they said ending the wtc claim would stop the ctc claim too and we need those (even though they've gone down by nearly half, thank you bloody co-alition Govt)
I didn't complain samnella about the trip thing because he was in his last year at the school, and I was worried that the other pupils would find out what had happened and be mean to him for being poor confused I have always told all my DCs that there's no shame in being poor, but he was struggling to make friends as it was and it just wasn't worth the hassle with younger siblings due to follow him up the school iykwim.

OmgATalkingOnion Mon 21-Jan-13 20:58:12

Dressing up all the time annoys me. It's the default for every topic at our school and it drives me nutshmm

MikeFlowersPops Mon 21-Jan-13 20:58:33

No mine doesn't

I pay for school dinner for 2 days a week - but that's my choice, they're not compulsory. It's £1.90 a day.

School trips usually cost £3-£5 and are roughly 2-3 times a year. Tickets for the nativity play were £2 each.

Snacks fruit and a drink are free. Breakfast club (optional) is £1 a day. After school childcare (optional) is £10 a day. After school activities are free at the moment (infant school).

Occasionally have to send in £1 for non-uniform day for charity.

Sabriel Mon 21-Jan-13 21:14:31

sminko, apparently they do shock. I know some of the parents and they were moaning about it, but still send them.

butterfingerz Mon 21-Jan-13 21:22:25

my dd is only in reception but so far so good. The pta do lots of fundraising but participation is entirely optional. My dd has music, drama/dance and French provided by private companies for free. There's not too many non-uniform days and I think there'll only be only one trip this yr as they're only in reception.

My nephews school is quite bad for money grabbing, for totally ridiculous things, wo betide if you forget to pay something - they'll be on the phone hassling dsis.

MadameBoolala Mon 21-Jan-13 21:30:00

Yes. DS has only been at school since September and they are bleeding us dry.

I have joined the PTA and I am going to stick a word in for those of us who are a bit skint. smile

Porkster Mon 21-Jan-13 21:43:59

Since beginning of term, we've paid £170 for music, £40 for smart card top up, £12 for ds2 half term of one lunch p/w, £140 deposit for school trip and £70 governors fund (only once per year).

SminkoPinko Mon 21-Jan-13 21:46:16

what is governors fund?

Scholes34 Mon 21-Jan-13 21:57:12

Following six days' notice to come up with £50 for a school trip, we wrote to the Head and asked that each year they provide a list of anticipated trips during the year for each of the school years to help us budget throughout the year, and year on year having three children going through the school. This is also done now by the secondary school and if anything it makes the school stand back and look at what they're asking the parents to pay.

We also had an apology from the head for the six days' notice.

I don't mind the lunches and the trips if they aren't too often or too expensive. I do get grumpy over paying 5 pounds a week for them to spend half an hour a week on a coach, get changed, have a 20min splash around, then get dressed and go back. They are only 5! We pay for private lessons, so are paying twice, and the pool the school uses has such a shallow training pool that it's a bit pointless. The ratios are 2 staff for 30 children (plus lifeguards, TAs etc), so they don't learn much.

Darkesteyes Mon 21-Jan-13 21:59:37

We so need to contact the Oxford dictionary and let them know that the meaning of the word "voluntary has been redefined.
Voluntary contributions seems to mean exactly the opposite!
Ditto the "voluntary" work experience people on Jobseekers have to do (workfare) or their benefit will be stopped!

So voluntary obviously doesnt mean voluntary any more.

SminkoPinko Mon 21-Jan-13 22:09:14

God, I wouldn't pay for the swimming if it was crap ( and the school lessons my teens had in primary were dreadful!) and they were already doing private lessons. Have you tried saying no or is it too scary?

LizzieVereker Mon 21-Jan-13 22:13:44

Schools have to say "voluntary contribution" on letters for trips, because by law they cannot exclude children on the basis of poverty; but the threshold for this is usual pupils entitled to Pupil Premium or FSM, not just those on a low income.
But if enough parents do not pay trips cannot go ahead. Schools are not allowed to make a profit on trips.

School fund is different, this is or should be voluntary but is used to fund things which otherwise could not be funded by the LEA or PTA. Sometimes it can be used to pay for a child on a low income (not one who gets FSM) to go on a trip, it's always worth asking if the school can help you meet the cost if you are in genuine need.

I'm bit surprised that people are concerned at being charged for breakfast club, lunch or music lessons; why would people think these should be free?

On the other hand, I do sympathise with people about finding all the money, none of us want our child to the only one who can't go on a trip, and sometimes schools do have a laissez faire attitude to things like costumes.

cece Mon 21-Jan-13 22:16:19

"If a school wishes to charge for school trips, a clear and written policy should be agreed with governors and made available to parents in advance."

Have you asked to see the school'spolicy on this? It should clearly state what happens when I child/parent cannot pay. Also the maximum amount that can be asked for.

TBH all the schools I have worked in have a fund to pay for children who are unable to pay. Certainly no child would be excluded because of it. shock

cece Mon 21-Jan-13 22:18:45
MushroomSoup Mon 21-Jan-13 22:23:41

What is a mufti day?

DIddled Mon 21-Jan-13 22:29:18

I pay voluntary monthly contribution of £15 but I didn't feel under any pressure to do so (son at very selective high performing grammar in affluent area, we are well out of catchment so not at all poshsmile ) . They have the odd trip and raffle tickets etc but not too excessive. I have bus fares to pay and have switched to packed lunches at Ds request- take too long to be servedin the canteen.The school lunches are outsourced and overpriced anyway- over £2.00 for a baguette with ready made sandwich filling- I can make that for 75p!!!
School trip to France was £500 but we paid in instalments.

The one thing I take exception to is the ridiculous items he has cooked in Food Tech involving beef strips/ Full pack of chicken breasts/ kaffir lime leaves- costs a flipping fortune and generally ends up in the bin....

Pom- I'm utterly disgusted at the schools treatment of your DS.....

wonkylegs Mon 21-Jan-13 22:41:51

We seem to have a never-ending stream of letters and quite a few requests for 'voluntary contributions'
DS is in reception and has so far paid out for 3 trips in the Autumn term which totalled about £25, we are on our 1st trip this term for another £8, £5 a term for the art fund, 2 mufti days so far, £5 for somebody to come in and teach them about their current topic, another £5 for a puppet show. £6.50 for some sport thing.
And then there's all the PTA fundraising stuff. I don't object to the educational trips (although not thrilled that as an adult volunteer if I were to go on the next trip this term I would have to pay for myself as well) but some of the things we are asked to pay for are a bit dubious and the sheer number is ridiculous and hard to justify especially since I was made redundant in Nov, and I'm not the only parent in this situation.

Porkster Mon 21-Jan-13 22:48:34

I didn't include all the food tech ingredients.

We pay £10 per year for basics (like flour, sugar etc), but tomorrow he is going in with chicken breast (free range, long story), fresh coriander, spring onions, sugar snaps, garlic and kaffir lime leaves! It's probably about £5 per week.

Ragwort Mon 21-Jan-13 22:58:16

No - when DS was at primary school there was perhaps one trip per year (£8 ish) and a residential trip to which about half the year went so no 'awkwardness' between those who went & those who didn't, those who stayed behind had a fun week of activities.

No more than 2 'non-uniform' days p.a. for charity which I don't mind at all.

I refuse to pay for school meals as I feel the standard is awful so no problem to send in a packed lunch (significantly cheaper as well).

Now at secondary school & we were asked for a one-off payment of £10 for the year (voluntary) - which after being on the PTA since playschool days & know how hard the endless fund-raising is I was more than happy to contribute grin. Again, the very occasional £1 for non-uniform.

So no, very few demands here smile.

Morloth Mon 21-Jan-13 23:04:10

Ours does, but we are in Oz where things are different.

We get an invoice at the start of the year with all of the planned expenses, they are of course 'voluntary' but as I want DS to be able to do all the things and to cover the cost for any kids whose parents can't afford to pay I just pull out the credit card. They are quite up front about how if enough people who can pay for trips etc, that will subsidise the people who can't.

I work out that it costs about $1,000 a year, DS1 does get to do all of the bits and bobs though, and I am happy to pay.

They appear to use the money well and DS is getting a good education.

Still a hell of a lot cheaper than the 9,000 pounds a year I paid for private school in London!

Darkesteyes Mon 21-Jan-13 23:31:59

Pom- I'm utterly disgusted at the schools treatment of your DS.....

Agreed. It was disgusting.

happynewmind Tue 22-Jan-13 07:56:04

Actually paying £10/£15 a month seems a better idea, I could usually plan for that, its when you get a letter asking for money you haven't expected with two days notice and the constant money letters.

Dd1 has two envelopes in her bag this morning with money in again.

Dcs old school didnt do a residential, new one do and last time only one boy didnt go and he was made to work in class below for the week.

impty Tue 22-Jan-13 11:44:31

Schools seem to vary in their attitudes to getting parents to pay.
A school trip was advertised to parents as coming in under the £50 mark. Lots of pupils put their name down for it. Actual cost comes in at £75. Teacher shrugs and has the reply that "it is what it is."

It's this attitude I find unbelievable. The school in question has some affluent parents but they aren't the majority, I don't think. Makes me very angry

elliejjtiny Tue 22-Jan-13 13:16:32

My DC's school is in a deprived area so we don't get asked for much. This term I've just had to provide £11 per child per week for school dinners and £5 per week for DS1 to go to breakfast club (DS2 not allowed to go because of his SN so i take him in later). I think this is very reasonable though as DS1 will have eaten honey and waffles for breakfast and roast pork, roast potatoes, veg and a pudding for lunch. I do begrudge the £40 a week in bus fares to get them to school and back but I can't blame the school for that.

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