To think that £350 is an excessive amount to pay for yr6 school trip ?

(142 Posts)
Lousylo66 Sun 29-Sep-13 10:07:25

Ds1 is in yr 6. Going through his school bag I have just found details of their school trip at the end of summer term next year. Apparently they will stay in a chateau in northern France for 3 nights. Sounds great, lots of activities, visits etc but just don' t think we can afford it. They are asking for a deposit by 11 October and then
5 x £60 monthly payments after that, but then you have to factor in spending money and everything else so it's probably considerably more expensive. I do know that several kids didn't go on it last year and felt thoroughly left out before and after the event - seemingly lots of class time devoted to it in preparation. Nothing else is laid on for the unfortunate ones who can't go, just same old school routine.
Ok ,maybe it's our fault that we sent our kids to a school in a nice affluent area but what's wrong with a good old PGL holiday where they can try activities they've never done before. Just wondered if anyone had any advice, am in two minds to take kids out of school camping on the days the trips in progress. Sorry for the rant.

nennypops Sun 29-Sep-13 10:09:11

Arranging a school trip from which a substantial number of children will be excluded by cost sounds really irresponsible. Is this a state school?

ScrewsFallOutAllTheTime Sun 29-Sep-13 10:11:40

My daughters PGL was £350 (5 days) in UK. Seems the average price from talking to friends. Not much help but we didn't need more than £10 spending money.

everlong Sun 29-Sep-13 10:13:16

Seems about right if I'm honest.

christinarossetti Sun 29-Sep-13 10:17:46

It is a lot for lots of families but sounds about average for the y6 residential, even in poorer area like ours.

Our school gives lots of help to different families - I would ask the school what is available.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 29-Sep-13 10:18:34

It sounds like something that always happens in year six so not an unexpected cost and one that can be saved for in advance for those that want to participate.

Primaries dont offer residentials abroad here but there are yearly residentials from juniors upwards.

Schools cant win, parents complain if nothing outside normal lessons is organised and others moan if the school dare ask for a few pounds to enrich a normal day with a trip or visitor.

Yonihadtoask Sun 29-Sep-13 10:18:54

The price sounds what I would expect for 3 days in France. Travel, accommodation, insurances, food etc.

He doesn't have to go if you can't afford it. But at least you are being offered monthly instalments?

Wait until high school. DS latest trip was over a grand!

SuburbanRhonda Sun 29-Sep-13 10:18:54

Find out first how expensive alternative trips are. I know £350 is a lot of money, but IME, having works in two primaries for nearly ten years and next two DCS on Year 6 trips, that's about the going rate.

How many children didn't go last year out of the whole year group? Was it really that many and how do you know they felt left out?

If there really is a lot of class time spent preparing for the trip (again, seems unusual - ours had evening meetings for parents but nothing just for the children), maybe you could have a word with the school and ask what the other children are doing in class while the trip is being prepared for.

And one more suggestion - my DCs' trip was very expensive ( but we started paying in Year 5, so it was more manageable) and lots of children stayed behind. But they were offered instead a week of trips to local activities, including a theme park, and it was 10% of the price of the residential. Why not suggest that to the school if its not too late?

meditrina Sun 29-Sep-13 10:20:11

I think you need to ask the school about hardship fund. They really will do their best to assist families they know are in straitened circumstances.

BTW - PGL trip would cost pretty much the same.

Bluebell99 Sun 29-Sep-13 10:21:09

My dd's 5 day year 6 pgl holiday was £365. She now has brought home a letter about a 4 day German trip which is £340. I think it sounds par for the course. Only 6 out of a 60 pupil year group didn't go, and some of those were in tears when the coach left.

Foxeym Sun 29-Sep-13 10:21:23

Seems about right, both my DD's have been on a 5 day residential activity holiday in year 6 and both times it cost me about £350 and they only went to the local primary school at the time (and they did it again in year 7 of secondary) sad

JessePinkmansBitch Sun 29-Sep-13 10:21:40

ScrewsFallOutAllTheTime that's awfully expensive for PGL. shock When my dd's class went it cost £75 each! confused

teacherandguideleader Sun 29-Sep-13 10:23:03

Sounds about right for a school trip. I don't get why they are so expensive - our Guide camps are 7 days and are in the region of £160 all in - and we do LOADS of activities, sometimes the price includes a day out at a popular theme park. We stay in tents and cook our own food which probably cuts down the cost a bit but I do not get why school trips cost so much in comparison. We get loads of kids on camp - it is a week of 'cheap' childcare for many of our families!

littlewhitebag Sun 29-Sep-13 10:24:24

My DD in Y11 is going to Rome for 5 nights at Easter with the school. It is costing £900. Your trip seems like a bargain.

teacherandguideleader Sun 29-Sep-13 10:24:45

Jesse - it may have been subsidised from a budget. Our kids are going to PGL soon, the year group involved have been fundraising all year to bring the cost down.

My son went on a residential in north France when he was in Y6 last year. It was not a surprise that was sprung on the parents, Y6 always go to France. They learnt so much about the war, and being there made it very real to them. They did not have much chance to spend money. School set a limit of £15, and they got out £2 per day for the tuck shop. They went to a confectionery factory the last day before returning home, where they had a chance to buy some gifts home.

The trip was very educational, so I would let your child go for that reason alone.

Camping you can do anytime.

outragedofsuburbia Sun 29-Sep-13 10:28:16

Our school's year 6 trip is £460 plus £200 to be raised by fundraising/sponsorship. DS is not going.

Smoorikins Sun 29-Sep-13 10:29:47

My sons school trip to France was £650, and my daughters £850.

I'd be delighted with that price!

Smoorikins Sun 29-Sep-13 10:31:15

To be fair though, both trips were for a week, rather than three days.

Glittertwins Sun 29-Sep-13 10:48:18

I have been warned about a year 6 trip to a PGL site which is 80 miles away and costing £400. I nearly fell over at that one!

raisah Sun 29-Sep-13 10:49:03

Can you devote his xmas gift money to it instead? Its the only way I would be able to afford something like this. Could relatives give him money for xmas instead of gifts so that could be put towards it as well. It is very expensive so I would say to my son he can only go if he sold unused toys & put his gift money towards it.

nennypops Sun 29-Sep-13 10:53:25

I do think £350 for three days is excessive - you can get escorted package holidays for less than that. If a school is going to charge that much I really think it could look at the options in this country that would offer longer trips and more value for money.

PMDD Sun 29-Sep-13 10:55:16

I have to say that the amount sounds about the same as other schools. My son's year 6 is a similar amount and other local schools are the same.

Can you imagine if you had twins?

lottieandmia Sun 29-Sep-13 10:57:39

I don't think it's excessive considering the activities. I do know how you feel though. My dd is in year 5 and next year there will be a trip to France - I think it's going to be even more than £350 and we may struggle to afford it. At my dd's school it is certainly the case that not everyone goes though.

Glittertwins Sun 29-Sep-13 11:03:50

PMMD, we do have twins hence the falling over at the realisation of 2x £400!!

nokidshere Sun 29-Sep-13 11:04:55

I wouldn't have let my yr6 child go abroad with school whatever the cost was!

Luckily for them our uk based trip was for 5 days and cost £240

mysteryfairy Sun 29-Sep-13 11:07:55

It's an average amount to pay for a school trip at that age but I can imagine it feels like a lot if it will be hard to find.

My DD has actually been on 3 trips in the last five months each costing at the end of Y6, one with guides and one just happened at the start of Y7. The guides one had a very drawn out payment schedule to help make it affordable - £40 here and £50 there. The amounts were so small I was astounded to be told I'd paid it off. I think the school by offering a similar payment schedule are actually making it as easy as they can. Both our school trips were one cheque at short notice which is more painful.

I would send him if you possibly can. My DD rated guide camp as her very best week of the summer and possibly ever. This was despite going on 2 family holidays and away with my parents as well during the course of the summer all to considerably more exotic locations.

Pgl for three nights on the Isle of wight was £240 this year. So the price for France seems ok. Perhaps speak to school and arrange to pay as much as you can afford withthe school covering the shortfall?

Spending money is usually limited to £10-20. You shouldn't need to buy anything specialist like walking boots for the trip like you often have to with pgl trips.

soverylucky Sun 29-Sep-13 12:16:50

Interesting. I have arranged a three night trip to a chateau in northern France and it is cost the pupils £250. We took year 10. They knew about it from year 7. For year 6 that is an excessive amount.

VivaLeThrustBadger Sun 29-Sep-13 12:23:12

DD's trip was £390 for 3 nights at PGL 30 miles down the road. For France it seems a good price, though I'd question the benefit of going to France. An activity centre is an activity centre......maybe it was cheaper than PGL though?

livinginwonderland Sun 29-Sep-13 12:30:01

Sounds about right to me.

Loa Sun 29-Sep-13 12:32:48

Similar trip at my DC school is over £450 this year.

It is a lot but I think that is what is costs.

Coconutty Sun 29-Sep-13 12:32:52

I think that is about right, it's actually quite a bit cheaper than DS's trips.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 29-Sep-13 12:34:03

DD had a ski trip last year yr 7 £950
This year it's Holland for 5 days, £450.
It's a state school.

Ds1 German exchange, so no living costs, was £400- he isn't going!

WhoNickedMyName Sun 29-Sep-13 12:44:32

I think the price sounds about right.

If at all possible, let him go. Do the school have a hardship fund? Would they let you pay less but over a longer period of time?

Ok, I would point out to school that if it is in school time they cannot refuse to take him if you can't afford to pay- or at least offer a trip of similar educational value. So my yr6 are going away for 2 nights to an outward bounds type place, we are getting a sports coach in for those who can't go to offer orienteering, additional sports etc. I would then offer to pay what you can afford each month towards the trip, if you don't have this chat the school can decide that you are simply not interested in the educational value of the trip and make no provision.
FWIW, we are charging about £120, 2 nights 3 days. No spending money needed. Scouts/ guides run camps far cheaper as the coaches are fully trained volunteers- none of them will be being paid for running events.

moldingsunbeams Sun 29-Sep-13 12:49:23

I am being charged that for 3 nights in Manchester when we live 15 miles from it.

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Sun 29-Sep-13 12:51:07

Y6 residential - Monday-Friday at an outdoor centre in the next county - £150.

teacherandguideleader Sun 29-Sep-13 12:51:47

They can refuse to take him - as far as I am aware, the voluntary thing doesn't apply to residential trips - I am currently planning a residential.

JakeBullet Sun 29-Sep-13 12:53:08

DS will be going to the Isle of Wight for five days next's going to be £350 but have been paying since June at £25 a month to try and get the figure down.

Our school do have a hardship fund for pupils who would benefit from going if parents cannot afford it. They will also pay for one twin so that parents with two children don't have double the cost.

glamourousgranny42 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:53:52

Sounds about right to me.
My son is going to France at a similar price. We knew it was coming up as its a regular school trip. Im really pleased because we couldn't afford for us all to go abroad so this is his first foreign trip and has been looking forward to it. Family have contributed towards the cost for xmas n birthdays

whatever5 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:58:31

I'm really surprised at how much people pay for y6 residentials! We live in a relatively affluent area and only paid about £220 for the y6 residential two years ago (two nights in the UK) . I thought that was bad enough! They now go somewhere nearer and cheaper.

I don't think that it's fair on Y6 children to organise expensive overseas residential school trips as many won't be able to go and will feel left out. It's a big deal at that age. They should save the overseas foreign trips for secondary school.

ihearsounds Sun 29-Sep-13 13:04:15

What extras do you think will bump up the cost?

Spending money usually a limit of up to £20.

Clothes? What does he normally wear? He can wear these things.

He won't need any equipment. Everything will be provided.

Ok yes, you might need to spring for food and drink for the outward travel. Depending on lo you might need travel meds. But again, it wont be that much.

donnie Sun 29-Sep-13 13:06:14

my dd's Y6 trip was to the Isle of Wight for 4 nights and that was £350. You will not get a school trip for much less, especially if they are travelling to France.

Akray Sun 29-Sep-13 13:06:25

We are £270 for 4 nights activity break in UK, so trip to France sounds reasonable. The final year in primary always go so was expecting it. School gave us the details in August and it has to be paid by February 2013 ~ I've been paying £10 or so in a week, surprising how quickly it mounts up.

I have 5DC and this will be first trip, but know others will have to go too in future ~ will start saving now!!

valiumredhead Sun 29-Sep-13 13:08:19

Sounds about right and a pretty good deal tbh. At ds's school the children who can't go also have a nice trip/days out.

My DS's Y6 trip was for 4 nights in Wales and cost £350. We could also pay in instalments. One or two DC don't go each year but that is usually because either the DC or parents are excessively anxious about it rather than cost. If it's truly out of your reach talk to the school about subsidising you from their hardship fund.

EnglishRose1320 Sun 29-Sep-13 13:15:55

I think it seems like a massive amount- trips should be affordable to all pupils. It is horrid to be left out because of cost and the school needs to c

EnglishRose1320 Sun 29-Sep-13 13:19:10

Consider that when planning. I could never afford that for a primary school trip. The last school I worked in worked very hard to keep costs down- whole school residential was £2 for the infants that just stayed for the day, I think about £10 for the yr 3/4 that stayed 1 night and around £25 for the yr 5/6 that stayed both nights and three days. They kept the cost low by going to an activity centre they could walk to, the kids still loved it even though it was close and parents didn't have to get into debt over a school trip

EnglishRose1320 Sun 29-Sep-13 13:20:05

And some was obs paid for out of the school budget to make it inclusive for all

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 29-Sep-13 13:21:21

Schools are not allowed to make a profit on trips so it will be the true cost. Insurance, travel, accomodation, food and activities quickly mount up.

They have no legal obligation to take children who dont pay as this doesnt apply to residentials. As to whether they have a hardship fund only the school will know, they are not given money for this purpose so it depends on if their budget can stretch to it. Its more likely they will give you longer to pay than fund it as any hardship funds usually pick up the day trips for the parents that cant or wont pay.

BatmanLovesIckyBarry Sun 29-Sep-13 13:22:05

£350 for 5 days / 4 nights at my school.

£350 for the same at my son's school. Fairly standard, I'm afraid. Last year I applied for the hardship fund and got it, this year I'm in better circumstances.

It's expected at our school though. If we didn't run the trip we'd have major grumbles from the parents.

BellaVita Sun 29-Sep-13 13:24:28

About what I would expect.

At the school I work in, £500 for Y6 trip to France, 5 days / 4 nights.

About £375 for Y5 residential in Norfolk, again 5 days / 4 nights.

DD1 trip to York in Year 4 was around £300. 4 days / 3 nights.

moldingsunbeams Sun 29-Sep-13 13:34:53

If they have no legal obligation to take those who cant pay then Imo it shouldn't be in school time and should not be included within within school work.

My child isn't going. She has to stay in class below which is fair enough but she will also be faced with school work on relating to this when they come back.

lljkk Sun 29-Sep-13 13:41:20

Has op been back?
DD's London trip in y7 will cost about that (ouch). I'm struggling with it, too. DD will have to pay part.
DD's 4 nights/5 day residential in Derbyshire was under £200 last yr, including spending money.

donnie Sun 29-Sep-13 13:42:22

moldingsunbeams - have you enquired about the hardship fund at your dc's school?

cantreachmytoes Sun 29-Sep-13 13:52:25

I agree with English Rose - it's unfair to penalise children for something they have NO control over. And if you're one of the ones left behind, you certainly can't feel great, regardless of any bravado. And when everyone comes back talking about it, I'm sure the feeling just gets better, as does having to sit in lessons about what you can't participate in.

I don't work in a school, but I cannot imagine organising a trip and not making certain that every child could go. Life's not fair, for sure, but we don't need to ram it down the throats of the very children who already know that!

Children in tears when the bus left with the others? That's unnecessary.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 29-Sep-13 13:58:12

Some wont go though as parents dont like them being away overnight without them or they dont like the place or activities. You will never please every parent. Teachers cant also be expected to know the personal budget of every family, lots prioritise other items over school expenses and some point blank refuse to pay for any school activity just to make a point.

It doesnt matter what the school do, somebody will always moan.

Groovee Sun 29-Sep-13 14:00:06

We paid £310 for 3 days outdoor education trip for P7 (year6)

SirChenjin Sun 29-Sep-13 14:04:01

It sounds about right sadly.

However, I completely disagree with school trips of this nature. State education should be inclusive, not exclusive, and asking for this amount of money can put a huge amount of strain of family finances. I completely agree with cantreachmytoes and others - school trips should be costed to a minimal level to ensure that everyone can attend. The 'bigger' trips should take place in the holidays, so that no child has to stay behind and sit in lessons with other classes.

Pachacuti Sun 29-Sep-13 14:09:32

What's "spending money and everything else"? If they are doing three days of prearranged activities in a dedicated centre then there isn't likely to be much opportunity for spending huge sums, is there? (OK, maybe the occasional gift shop but it won't kill him not to bring back tacky souvenirs).
If you can't afford the £360 then you can't afford it, but I wouldn't let the thought of unspecified extras put you off.

If he wants to go, could you make a contribution towards the cost of the trip part or all of his Christmas present and/or birthday present?

SirChenjin Sun 29-Sep-13 14:19:23

If you're going to the usual outward bound centre then you are presented with a kit list - waterproofs, boots, fleeces etc all cost money that can add up. Not everyone has these already, not everyone can borrow from other families, and even buying them from ebay can add up (providing you actually manage to win the action)

moldingsunbeams Sun 29-Sep-13 14:19:42

In our school one boy in a wheelchair didn't go last year (centre not set up for disabled activities, not sure if school offered to find somewhere that did or not.

This year my dd is definately only one.

Most do go here.

IdaClair Sun 29-Sep-13 14:24:41

My DC haven't been on any big trips yet as the eldest is only in year 2 but I am interested to see how much these things cost, so thank you. I remember going on them as a child and how the cost was restrictive. I went on some, not on others. My grandparents paid for one, as I recall.

It made me think if I will want to send the DC when they get bigger, and how I will afford it. Then I realised that the DCs have savings accounts which I pay £20 into every month - they have these already - so if they do want to go on these things in the future they can pay out of those. Then they will have some choices, which will be nice. They will be lucky. I just thought I'd say that in case it helped anyone. I know in my family it is fairly traditional to have some kind of savings account for the kids, even if it's grandparents etc. and I think this is a fair use of something like that.

Sillysarah49 Sun 29-Sep-13 14:25:03

I'm going to be facing this dilemma later this year. Similar price at our school and although I realise this seems to be the going rate, its just too much for us. We go away once a year self catering in this country for about the same cost. We didn't go away this year as we couldn't afford it, and if child goes on trip it means we won't be going next year either. I hadn't thought about taking him out and going on a camping trip, but its a good idea so they won't feel so left out.

clam Sun 29-Sep-13 14:28:40

I've just done a rough calculation that I've spent around £4000 on residential trips in total for my 2 (one in Y13, one in Y11) so far, during their time in secondary.
That's for a "normal" comprehensive, and for trips that are curriculum-based, apart from DofE (2 bronzes, 1 silver and 1 gold - £570, not counting buying kit)

invicta Sun 29-Sep-13 14:30:01

For three days that's a lot, but not for fixed days.

clam Sun 29-Sep-13 14:32:13

And the school a friend works at has just run a trip for sixth-formers to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands at around £3000 per pupil. It was full.

Tabby1963 Sun 29-Sep-13 14:32:50

At our school about 25% of pupils are not going on our school trip next April. We always suggest that parents contact the school if the reason for not going is financial and we can (and do) subsidise pupils if necessary. Five days PGL holiday is around £350, with £5 spending money. All pupils are told to bring oldest clothes (and something for the disco), waterproofs and other equipment is provided.

derektheladyhamster Sun 29-Sep-13 14:41:47

My son had minimal xmas and birthday presents from us, and all money from relatives went towards his residential. He didn't mind and it was the highlight of his primary school.

Any children not going on the trip had days out to the local zoo/ pizza making and other fun things. They certainly didn't have a week of schoolwork.

moldingsunbeams Sun 29-Sep-13 15:05:31

Those that stay behind in our school definately do normal school work, the boy who stayed behind last year was left maths and comprehension work etc and worked in year 5.

Finola1step Sun 29-Sep-13 15:06:52

Our Year 6s go on their residential tomorrow. It is too the LA residential centre (we are just managing to keep it going) and our school subsides heavily. For the week we charge £120. Or £60 if the family are FSM. That's right £60 for a five day residential. But as a school we are really struggling to subsidise this year. We do it so that every child can go. There are no excuses, no one being excluded. I really hope we can continue to subsidise.

There are schools out there spending all year trying to find
the money so that all children can go. I think £360 is a lot of money but that is what these types of trips cost. Most schools simply can't not pass all or most of the cost onto the parents. It is worth talking to the Head or one of your Parent Governirs regarding financial support for low income families.

QueenStromba Sun 29-Sep-13 15:09:17

I agree about talking to the school and also sitting DS down and asking him if he'd rather go on the trip or get his usual Christmas and birthday presents from you and the rest of the family that would buy him presents.

If he decides he wants to go on the trip then ask your family to give him something small and cash towards the trip. At his age I completely understood that my family weren't well off and that expensive presents/trips were the exception rather than the rule. He's also the sort of age where family members start having trouble figuring out what to buy since he's getting a bit old for toys and so any individual thing he might want would be rather expensive (e.g. iPod etc). I imagine that uncles, aunts etc would be starting to buy him iTunes vouchers or giving cash at this sort of age anyway so they'd probably be glad to have a specific thing that cash would go towards.

clary Sun 29-Sep-13 15:15:13

I think that's pretty good value.

FWIW my kids' school does PGL and that costs about £300 + tbh.

Seems reasonable and at least they are allowing you to stagger the payments. I know it is a big expense but I do think it's worth it. I don't know how it could be a whole lot cheaper really.

Agree you should ask the school if there is any help available. Some schools have funds they can use for just this situation.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 29-Sep-13 15:50:31

YANBU - £350 is an excessive amount for a school trip in year 6.

It isnt a question of whether it is the correct amount for the type of trip it is whether it is appropriate for a state school to offer such a trip at all.

IMO it isnt

If it is an educational trip then it should be within the budget of every family so cost no more than a few pounds. If it isnt educational then it should not be offered by the school.

I really dont get this thing for big trips from school. Schools should not be acting as a travel agent or offering trips which arent available to all. It isnt the only chance that students will get to go to these places. They arent Brigadoon. These places will still be available when students grow up and can take them selves.

poshfrock Sun 29-Sep-13 15:59:18

Our Y6 trip is a week in Whitby and the cost is £200, so £350 would seem expensive to me.

We are having a week's family holiday in France at Easter for 5 people for £350 (accommodation and travel - food is extra).

SirChenjin Sun 29-Sep-13 16:07:22

Unfortunately, I think that some schools take full advantage of their pupil demographic. For example, DS1 and DD went to different primary schools, but neighbouring catchments - DS went to a very small primary in a very affluent area, DD a larger primary serving a more diverse population. They both had ski lessons - DD had hers in P6, DS had 2 lots, one in P6 and one in P7. They both went to the same residential centre, but DS went at the most expensive time of the year, DD went at a cheaper time.

I think schools need to realise that not all families have the kind of money that they ask for, and that there are plenty of cheaper alternatives that mean pupils have a great time away from their desks.

saulaboutme Sun 29-Sep-13 16:11:58

Dds PGL trip was £220 2 years ago. they did it in march to reduce the cost.
Although there was help for the families who couldn't afford it so that's sad the school has no concession for this.

I think that some schools take full advantage of their pupil demographic

Exactly that.

DSs went to a certain primary school that would not even dream of asking for that much money.

DDs school who are very aware that they have a certain demographic, won't stop asking for money and think nothing of £350.

reup Sun 29-Sep-13 16:21:55

I thought ours was expensive at £270 for 5 days! I suppose France adds to the cost a lot though ours is pgl too. My nephew worked at that ones in France in Hus gap year. Staff beds were full of bed bugs. I think they all took full advantages of the bar as recompense.

thebighouse Sun 29-Sep-13 16:25:42

Having the same problem here. Like others, our family summer holiday last year cost £350. This is really stressing me out. I work full time but I'm a single parent and don't have this sort of money. I don't know what to do!

My DS's trips have always been around the £100 per night mark. Year 6 was 5 nights in Brittany. German Christmas markets in year 10 was about £400 for 4 nights. He didn't want to go skiing in America last year (fortunately), that was well over £1000 for the week.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Sep-13 16:33:20

I'm curious - how did a visit to the German Christmas markets relate to the curriculum?

viewwitharoom Sun 29-Sep-13 16:33:57

In my experience schools will try to keep costs as low as possible but there is the danger that if you cut corners price wise then what other corners will be cut-pupil supervision or quality of equipment? There are a small number of companies like PGL who are specialists and will assist with the astronomical paperwork required like risk assessment etc. This is why schools like to use them.
My sons school is organising a week long residential not that far away which is coming in at around £350. Its a lot of money and we only have til March to pay it as they are away in April. At a recent meeting the parents agreed to look at fund raising events to reduce the costs to families. Is that a possibility at your school?

SirChenjin Sun 29-Sep-13 16:35:37

View - don't know if you saw my earlier post, but I don't think all schools try and keep costs as low as possible, sadly sad

viewwitharoom Sun 29-Sep-13 16:36:40

German Christmas would fit the bill both culturally and linguistically, and I would doubt they would just be at the markets. They would surely do other visits too? (Speaks as a Mod Langs Teacher)

German GCSE

They went to the Lindt chocolate museum in Colonge as well. Being markets it cost me a lot of spending money on top.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 29-Sep-13 16:40:21

I really dont think that state schools should be offering these types of trips at all. IMO it is wrong to force parents to spend what for many will be quite a lot of money on a trip under the guise of it being educational. This sort of guilting puts a lot of pressure on parents. It may not be a question of not being able to afford it but of not wanting to have to scrimp on other things (eg a family holiday) to pay for one person to go on a trip.

Also many pupils or students are not happy or comfortable with the idea of going on a residential trip and having to share a room with others whom they really dont know. There may be a lot of perfectly good reasons for this which arent just a case of pushing people out of their comfort zones.

viewwitharoom Sun 29-Sep-13 16:41:21

Ask for the breakdown of costings if you are unhappy. I will say that I have a problem with organising trips these days as the costs are so high. Most of our week long trips abroad are coming in at £700 a time. I think that is too much to ask families to stump up and question their value for money. As a result I don't organise these at the moment. (Regretfully)

I agree, Worry.

forehead Sun 29-Sep-13 16:43:16

My dniece is in year 7. Her school are going skiing in Canada next Easter
for 8 days at the cost of £1750. A whole family can go on holiday for that amount of money.
Whatever happened to going skiing in Italy or France?.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Sep-13 17:10:25

And there was no cheaper way of exposing them to Germany, culturally or linguistically? hmm

Worry - I completely agree. I think that many of the trips stretch the 'educational' truth somewhat. My DS went to Rome and the Amalfi coast earlier this year with the RMPS unit. They went to the Vatican City, granted, but none of the kids or the parents were under any illusion that it was a religious trip or that it linked to the curriculum to any great extent - it was purely for fun. He was allowed one foreign trip at High School, and that was it, but the vast majority of the pupils who attended were from affluent families who do the rounds of the foreign trips - they certainly aren't attended by the pupils who are on FSM.

QueenStromba Sun 29-Sep-13 17:10:36

Who has the sort of money to spend £2k on a holiday for their kid? It's not like a skiing holiday is particularly educational either.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Sep-13 17:12:27

You would be surprised Queen - there are a (small) number of kids at my DCs comp who lurch from one foreign school trip to another. Surprisingly enough, they don't seem any more educationally advanced than the kids who don't hmm

Ragwort Sun 29-Sep-13 17:17:25

You have to decide if you feel it is good value - at my DS's school a trip was recently cancelled due to extremely low take up. We looked at the details and felt it was just not good value for what it offered (tbh we could have 'afforded' it - but didn't want to spend that sort of money on something that didn't appear to be entirely worthwhile). However we are prepared to pay for a much more expensive trip, because we feel it offers good value and a really different experience.

GangstersLoveToDance Sun 29-Sep-13 17:17:28

I don't think that children in Primary School should be offered trips abroad. A few days away within the UK will more than suffice at that age, with a much lower cost and obviously higher chance that everyone will be able to go.

At secondary school, I don't see any problem with more expensive trips abroad. There are generally so many children in each year group that there's no risk of any non-attendees feeling 'left out'.

I don't believe that trips should be completely limited or cut though - from a purely selfish point of view, I don't want my own children to miss out on experiences just because not everyone can afford it. No, it's not 'fair' to children who can't afford to go - but what in life is?

Ragwort Sun 29-Sep-13 17:19:22

Alternatively join the Scouts/Guides - I am a Leader & we recently took children away for five days for £45. grin And had money left over which went back into general funds.

ParkerTheThief Sun 29-Sep-13 17:29:34

The thing is, often you get what you pay for.
I recently went to look at two possible options for my year 6 residential trip.
They both offered similar outdoor experiences on paper. Place A was £100 more than place B

When I visited I immediately knew I would not be happy taking pupils to place b, security was poor and the accommodation wasn't of a very good standard. Everytwhing was run down and slightky grubby around the edges. When I was shown round the activity centre I saw a couple of things that I didn't feel comfortable with in terms of health and safety.

By contrast at place A I felt that staff ratios and attitude were fabulous and health and safety/accommodation was of a higher standard.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Sep-13 17:35:22

Scouts and Guides are usually attended in addition to school - and what do you know? Every year they go abroad! This year it was building a school in Africa, next year it's Switzerland...there is no escaping the expensive holidays abroad! Fortunately they go in the holidays, so the ones who can't afford it don't have their noses rubbed in it.

Don't agree with the No, it's not 'fair' to children who can't afford to go - but what in life is? The whole point of state education is that it is fair and it is inclusive (or rather, it should be), which is what I love about it.

soverylucky Sun 29-Sep-13 17:47:25

I am pretty certain that if the majority of the trip takes place during school time (even if it is residential) then the school can not force you to pay and must meet the cost for those who can't. Will try and find a link later.

Also I will repeat - we take year 10 away ever year to France for three nights at a cost of £250. I think that some schools need to find a different company to do their trips with.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Sep-13 17:54:52

I don't think that's the case here in Scotland. The children who didn't go to our primary schools' PGL trips went into another class and did regular lessons there. I understand from other threads here on MN that some schools in England have a different set up in that they ask for a donation and the cost is voluntary. Up here, if you don't pay, you don't go and you stay in school to be taught in another class.

moldingsunbeams Sun 29-Sep-13 18:05:08

We have just looked and for that we can fly mid October for seven nights, two adults and child in term time to the lovely little place we go to in Menorca. That's the whole family getting a break not just dd

Lousylo66 Sun 29-Sep-13 18:52:21

Thanks for all your replies. A lot of food for thought !
Main issue for me is the fact that we live in the north of England so a least a day and a half will be spent travelling on the coach. I have spoken to Ds about how he will cope with all the chatter and group excitement about it and ATM he seems unfazed. Has never been away without us on hols before apart from on cub/scout camp so actually says he is more apprehensive about it than anything else. I think we'll play it by ear and see what his friends are doing smile already had one on the phone asking what our plans are.
From what I gather, the last few years they've had to extend the trip to yr 5 to ensure sufficient numbers to make it viable confused which makes me think there are issues with price. Tbh I also suspect a lot of the kids, esp boys would much rather try abseiling, kayaking that kind of thing rather than being dragged round a French market.

Animation Sun 29-Sep-13 19:32:59

Think schools should consult with parents 1st and be more responsible before organising such trips.

TiredDog Sun 29-Sep-13 19:40:12

Year 6 pupils at my primary were offered 5 days in France for £295. One day out of 5 was travelling there and one day travelling back.

Teachers raved over the trip and talked about how they had spent their half term touring the area and recceing outings.

Not enough pupils signed up and it was cancelled.

They had French week in school in previous years and dressed in french costumes, ate french food and studied all things french. Kids really got into it.

Did they decide to repeat this once the French trip was cancelled? No. Poor show by school.

minihahawithafringe Sun 29-Sep-13 19:43:58

our dd will be charged £300 for a 3 day trip to the mainland, in year 6 sad [ripped off]

Greenkit Sun 29-Sep-13 19:49:17

I have just come back from Arnhem, Holland, where myself and three adults took 23 Army cadets on a 5 day trip (4 nights) with visits to various locations in Holland and Belgium for the battlefield tour.

The cost for full board, travel was a whole £95, next year will will need to put the cost up to £140 as costs have gone up slightly.

We take away cadets for 12 days for £50 full board

Schools are a bloody rip off

shewhowines Sun 29-Sep-13 19:55:03

Ours went to the isle of wight for about £300. Expensive but fantastic value for money considering everything they packed in. It did seem that the few that didn't go was because of anxiety so I presume the hardship fund helped some.

It is a fantastic experience if you can afford it but I do feel that there is a lot of pressure for those that can't afford it.

It would be a shame for everyone to miss out though. The kids do get so much out of it.

Rudejude7 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:08:36

DS went on a PGL for 5 days in this country and I thought the £350 was a bit excessive although everybody in Yr 6 went. I did seem to recall that it was a 'Voluntary' contribution though.

Heifer Sun 29-Sep-13 20:13:40

Our school has their trip in Yr5. They go to Manor Adventure Mon - Fri and will be costing a max of £350. They used to go to PGL but apparently it's more expensive so have switched to Manor Adventure to help keep the costs down.

We have known about the trip since reception so have had plenty of time to plan, although tbh our financial situation hasn't enabled us to save anything. BUT I promised DD that she could go, so we will do whatever it takes. We are better off now than we were a few months ago so will just about be able to manage the £50 per month we need to pay until she goes. It's all the girls talk about from yr4. They have heard about it since reception and just can't wait.

Apparently only a few have not gone over the years and that was for culture reasons rather than financial.

The school has done everything it can to keep the costs down, changing the time of year etc and is letting us pay in tiny instalments as long as the key targets are met.

Lousylo66 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:14:19

What irks me is the presumption that everyone can afford it just because the school is located in an affluent area, no consultation or anything. A lot of the kids at ds's school are used to expensive 2 week trips to Florida etc so a few days in the lakes kayaking, scrambling would be probably quite exciting unusual plus confidence building. Have since heard that a least 3 other parents from sons friendship group are not going and in fact one of them has written a letter already to the school complaining.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 29-Sep-13 20:27:03

I have to say that the argument that No, it's not 'fair' to children who can't afford to go - but what in life is? is quite frankly an invidious one. Schools insist on uniform so that, amongst other things, the poor and rich students look alike. Then schools go and offer trips at £100s of pounds which only the relatively well off can afford.

So what if this or that trip is a great experience? The places will still exist when the students are grown and can plan and pay for their own trips.

freddiefrog Sun 29-Sep-13 20:48:33

My DD did a 3 night residential Year 6 in a chateau in northern France for £225, the school subsidised it by £50 per head and they missed the last 2 days of term

We were consulted and given various options - London, Youth Hostel in France, PGL 10 miles down the road but they were all the same price as the school got a better all inclusive group deal with the company who run the trips

About 25% of the class didn't go for various reasons, ££, parents didn't want their children away over night, didn't want them to leave the UK so the school put on a few special activities at school for them

Is there anyway that family and friends can chip in for birthday and Christmas presents?

Do you know what the activies are? DD visited a snail farm, a chocolate factory, went to a French market, etc, so apart from a French dictionary she didn't need any equipment and spending money was limited to €20

LaGuardia Sun 29-Sep-13 21:17:59

£350 isn't a lot of money, is it? Obviously no boarders on the thread yet..........

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 29-Sep-13 21:21:52

It is a sod of a lot of money for a household which struggles to make ends meet.

mumofweeboys Sun 29-Sep-13 21:26:23

My ds1 has just started year 1 of primary school. I've opened an extra savings account for school stuff as by sound of it, things will get expensive.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 29-Sep-13 21:31:16

I think I will have to start saving. DS is in year 3 so if I put money aside it will not be much of a shock

pointythings Sun 29-Sep-13 21:51:15

DD12s trip to France was £340 - that's 3 nights in the chateau plus two nights in a hotel, all food, entry to Euro Disney, entry to all places visited plus transport. I think that's amazing value, really. The school do try to fund places for people who really can't afford to go.

But it's still a lot of money and I totally get that - we have told DD2 that yes, we can afford it, but should our employment situation change we may not always be able to afford trips like this.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 29-Sep-13 21:55:00

Some families may be able to save while for others this is an unimaginable amount of money.

But also dont forget the children for whom staying away from home might be a nightmare:

- the children with bedwetting or gastric problems such as IBD
- the children with sleep problems
- the children with health problems which need regular treatment

The children may have been able to keep these things private from their contemporaries in a normal school setting. A few days staying in a room with virtual strangers may well be more than they can cope with.

ravenAK Sun 29-Sep-13 22:38:05

It seems reasonably priced to me, over installments. & for those for whom it is an 'unimaginable' sum, there's usually financial help.

I'm struggling with the implication that because some dc may have bedwetting issues etc (eg my 7yo dd1), the whole thing should be written off.

I'd just have a quiet word with the teacher in charge & ensure dd1 has pull-ups in her bag - she doesn't wear them at home, where she has an accident a couple of times a month, but no big deal to pack them if she's away from home. NOT a reason for her not to enjoy a residential trip.

TeaAndSconesTwice Sun 29-Sep-13 22:47:09

We have a yr 6 activity trip in the uk for 5 nights for £350.

Scholes34 Sun 29-Sep-13 22:51:08

What is completely bonkers here is the fact that a school wants to take a coachload of primary schoolchildren from the north of England to France. The idea of a residential is for the kids to have fun together, and that can happen just as well ten miles up the road.

TiredDog Sun 29-Sep-13 22:55:17

Scholes has it spot on. I wouldn't drive for two days to have 3 days break. It's uneconomical in time alone

Pachacuti Sun 29-Sep-13 22:58:02

It does seem utterly ridiculous. There's a limit to how much French they'll actually be exposed to on that kind of trip, and they'll spend a huge amount of time travelling.

ravenAK Sun 29-Sep-13 23:02:12

I agree with you Scholes.

However, it's a lot easier to 'sell' a jaunt to France than a residential 10 miles up the road - & often not much of a price differential once you start looking at activity-based holidays.

Scholes34 Sun 29-Sep-13 23:03:11

And if your child doesn't have a passport already, that's another major expense.

Scholes34 Sun 29-Sep-13 23:06:30

Our primary used to travel 300 miles to one of the best PGL sites, and then switched for DC3 to one about 40 miles away. The staff said facilities were enjoyed just as much and the shorter journey was much more preferable. DC3 enjoyed his year 6 residential just as much as DC1 and DC2.

ItsDecisionTime Mon 30-Sep-13 00:12:20

Seems expensive to me. My DD attends a private school and their Year 8 French exchange is costing £150 for 5 days. True, the accommodation costs are covered but I wouldn't expect them to be more than £100 if they were sleeping in a dorm or caravan anyway. Must be covering the accompanying teachers costs in that.

FirstStopCafe Mon 30-Sep-13 05:02:49

OP I'm glad your son seems unfazed. Although you feel bad about him being unable to go, he may really not mind too much. I was unable to go on the week long residential school trip when I was in yr 6 as we couldn't afford it. Only 5 of us remained behind but I really was fine about it. I understood.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 30-Sep-13 07:29:53

RavenAK - my comments about the different issues were not meant to say that children with those issues couldnt go on residential trips but might be perfectly legitimate reasons why a child or teen might not want to go on a trip but also might not want to share the reason with the school. We have experience of this as DD has IBD and finds that the bathroom facilities are just another stress she can do without.

BrokenSunglasses Mon 30-Sep-13 09:16:26

I think we are lucky that teachers are prepared to organise and supervise trips that our children can get so much benefit from.

I don't think there's any need to offer trips abroad at primary school, it seems pointless when there are so many places in the UK that offer brilliant trips with a much smaller amount of travel time. But when they get to secondary, they provide a chance for children to go abroad even if their family couldn't afford a foreign trip for all of them.

What annoys me is that at our school, children on FSMs can get the trip for free or at a significantly reduced price, yet those of us on a similar income level get offered nothing. I think the pupil premium is divisive and is incredibly unfair on children from families who earn only fractionally more than FSM families. It is not the poorest children that miss out IME.

EnglishRose1320 Mon 30-Sep-13 11:15:10

Worry sigh- last school I worked at was very aware that issues like the ones you mentioned could put parents and children off but wanted to encourage children to feel confident enough to go- so staying at an adventure place that was only 20mins away meant that everyone could come and those that didn't want to or couldn't stay overnight just came each day instead.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 30-Sep-13 12:09:59

EnglishRose1320 - I think that is an excellent compromise.

cornflakegirl Mon 30-Sep-13 12:59:28

Google "charging school activities" and read the DoE advice - there are actually really strict rules about what can be charged for (rather than requested as a voluntary contribution) if an activity takes place wholly or mainly in school time.

chicaguapa Mon 30-Sep-13 13:09:23

YANBU. I resent it too. We also live in an affluent area and find that the price of school trips and the expectation that everyone can afford them is one of the downsides. The other being the expectation that mum is at home all day and available at the whim of the school to ferry DC around/ change plans at the drop of the hat. hmm

Schools are not very good at looking outside at the bigger picture unfortunately. They get so excited and caught up in the fantastic school trip they are dreaming up for the DC (and there's little doubt that they'll really enjoy it) that they forget the cost comes out of family budgets that they might otherwise spend on the whole family. But I know they mean well and have the DC's interests at heart, which is what we want from them really.

In our case, DH had to go into the school and tell them that we just couldn't afford DD's Y6 trip as we were going through some financial issues at the time. They were very supportive and arranged a payment schedule. But the fact was that we resented being forced to go in and have that conversation with them. Schools are meant to educate, not be privvy to our financial problems because they've asked us to pay £355 for a trip (having paid £270 for a Y5 trip too).

Retroformica Mon 30-Sep-13 13:09:39

Our trips tend to cost 140

yummumto3girls Mon 30-Sep-13 13:15:25

I agree £350 for only 3 days is too much. Our yr 6 was about £250 for 5 days with full on activities every day. Why do schools have to go overboard!!

Jenny70 Mon 30-Sep-13 13:47:17

We live in an affluent area, our kids are going on a 5 day residential to a forest camp in Sussex... costing about the £300 for the 5 days. I guess when I factored in coach hire, subsiding teachers, accom, food and activities I thought it was an OK price - not a bargain, but almost reasonable. guess I was pleased it wasn't a week in the Bahamas or something completely over the top.

There are 2 students not going (each for their own reasons) and they will be stuck in with Year 5 for the week apparently. I feel sorry that they will miss all the fun, as well as the post trip reminiscences & in-jokes etc.

cuteboots Mon 30-Sep-13 13:50:29

I think next year when hes in year 6 my son will be asked for about £350 for a weeks visit to some outdoor centre in wales. Im already dreading it as even though I work full time there is no spare cash each month . I think they should consult parents loads more in advance before they even plan trips like this ; 0 (

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