to not pay full whack for this school trip?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you afford 80% ?

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

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


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

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

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

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

I bet you wont have been subsidising other parents.

I bet the majority of them pay the full amount.

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

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

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

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

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

Oh yeah, YABVU and quite frankly, rather tight.

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

Complete nonsense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

so I don'r pay for the school lessons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Floggingmolly Wed 02-Oct-13 17:49:47

Bit cheeky to pay 80% of the trip cost and give them money for the gift shop...

LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 17:52:01

Where have I said I'm going to do that? Or do you mean other parents?

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Wed 02-Oct-13 17:55:01

Yanbu. If the money is going to come from your food budget then I agree you should not pay on this occasion. Schools need to realise that many people are living on very restrictive budgets at the moment and it is literally a matter of going without food in order to pay for unbudgeted requests for money.

WorraLiberty Wed 02-Oct-13 17:57:59

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".

Hmm...but surely you would have written how much money was enclosed in the envelope.

Every permission slip I've ever seen has 'amount enclosed'.

bearleftmonkeyright Wed 02-Oct-13 18:09:20

I am on the pta and I feel often I am the lone voice saying, actually some parents may not be able to afford x. Posters saying the OP is being tight are being a bit nasty. Why post this unless you are finding this a moral dilemma? When you're washing machine has packed in , the kids need new shoes, you need to go to the dentist etc etc, a school trip can push you over the edge and maybe you have to just take a step back and think well, does this matter? Do I support the school in other ways? Because maybe at this point in time I just can't pay. And next time there is a school event, I will support, pay, buy raffle tickets or make a cake.

Lilacroses Wed 02-Oct-13 18:09:39

I don't see anything wrong with only paying some of the amount if you are struggling with money. I would not mind at ALL "subsidising" other parents if they couldn't afford a trip. I am very lucky to have a pt time job (DP a full time one) and we only have one Dd so we're not rich but we have everything we need. Obviously I wouldn't be impressed if people just claimed not to be able to afford a trip when they really could but I'd hate to think of someone worrying about not being able to send their Dc(s) on a trip because of this.

Mind you.....some of the trips people describe on here are SO expensive! I'm amazed that anyone can afford them!

BlackeyedSusan Wed 02-Oct-13 18:20:38

if you can't afford it you can't afford it. it is called a voluntary payment, as it is voluntary. pay as much as you can... however, if you are spending lots on other luxuries/non essentials then yabvu.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 02-Oct-13 18:26:59

If you are struggling with money then the right thing to do is ask to pay it over a longer amount of time. It is not right to just decide you can't pay at all and then still let your child go on the trip.

Lilacroses Wed 02-Oct-13 18:34:04

Good idea BrokenSunglasses. That is an option offered at my Dd's school.

OldRoan Wed 02-Oct-13 18:43:44

I know someone who was asked to pay £10 for her DD's school trip - it was pay or don't go, and she was the only child who hadn't paid.

Friend stumped up the cash and under 'medical issues to be aware of' put "DD may be dizzy and lightheaded as she will not have eaten all week due to my food budget going on this trip."

Point made, voluntary contributions/payment over time was in place shortly afterwards. I agree if you can pay you should - I'm sure school will welcome payment in instalments.

pixiepotter Wed 02-Oct-13 18:49:01

The only way to not send your DC on the trip is to keep them off school for the day and even then that doesn't help because the transport costs are usually the major expense and they don't save anything by having one or two fewer students

FuckyNell Wed 02-Oct-13 18:53:34

Nice post bear

TheBuskersDog Wed 02-Oct-13 18:59:01

The only way to not send your DC on the trip is to keep them off school for the day

No it isn't, you don't sign the consent form, you take your child into school and they are sent to another class.

asandwichshort Wed 02-Oct-13 19:04:30

In my experience school does not have a bottomless pit of "top up" money for subsidising trips for people who quite frankly just can't be arsed to pay!! I spend my time trying to find ways of topping up the school fund with things like book fairs and getting subsidised tickets from the local football club who give a donation for selling them to parents etc etc I sign up for money back offers etc etc to keep the thing afloat! School trips are arranged by working out the transport costs and admission charges and dividing by the number of children going. therefore through simple maths a trip costing £100 for transport and £100 for admission would cost 40 kids £5 Each. If you don't pay your £5 I have to dip into my small amount of hard earned money to top it up and therefore have £5 less to spend for example on things like Christmas presents for the kids or Leavers presents for the Y6 kids or tooth fairy envelopes!!!which we are not allowed to taken from the actual school budget. So everyone who doesn't pay is actually depriving other children - and perhaps their own - from benefitting from other nice things down the line! In my experience parents who are extremely hard up are the ones who come to me and explain the situation and ask if they can pay in instalments -

AugustRose Wed 02-Oct-13 19:19:20

I have to agree with you LazyGaga, my two girls (6 and 11) were both attending the same small primary school until DD1 went to secondary this year. The village is quite affluent and they do not take into account those (like us) who do not have much money. Because it is a small school they often have whole school trips/swimming etc instead of one or two year groups at a time, and there are at least 6 trips per year. Added to that they have a residential every year for years 4/5/6 costing over £200 each and they are expected to go - when I said my DD1 wasn't going on one of them the headteacher became quite abrupt insisting what a good experience it would be and she really should be going! I did have to pay for another of the residentials in instalments because I just didn't have the money to pay it in one go.

Other than the residentials the forms always say voluntary but really they expect you do pay. They also have numerous school discos, BBQs, fundraising events throughout the year which I try and contribute to but cannot always affort it.

SoupDragon Wed 02-Oct-13 19:22:34

Plenty of school trips at DDs school were cancelled last year because parents didn't pay. Most would have been able to.

SoupDragon Wed 02-Oct-13 19:25:42

Other than the residentials the forms always say voluntary but really they expect you do pay.

It's not that they expect you to pay, they need you (or the majority) to pay, unfortunately.

fairy1303 Wed 02-Oct-13 19:42:51

I don't think you are being tight. Trip are so expensive and things are tight at the moment. We are struggling at the moment to cover our mortgage because I'm on MAT leave. DSD has come home with three letters about trips. One is a 4 day residential at £195. She's 8.

If I had the balls to not pay it I would. If I wasn't so proud I would have the discussion about paying less.

Ultimately I don't want her to miss out, so we are having to cut back even more.

MammaTJ Wed 02-Oct-13 19:51:08

I have done this once, when money was really tight! I usually pay the full amount!

I am not on the PTA because I have other commitments that don't allow it, but I do go to meetings in the hope of meeting LDC woman and help out at events. They realise that people struggle and try to subsidise trips where they can. There was a year one and year three trip in the same week last year, the same years as my DCs were in. The year 2 trip came last and it was reaslised that this would be hard for a few parents, so they subsidised that one quite heavily.


HappyMummyOfOne Wed 02-Oct-13 20:10:35

YABVU, if you dont want to pay in instalments then dont send your children. Its certainly wrong to give them spending money yet quite happily take money from the school budget to cover your shortfall.

Other parents dont pay the shortfall, they are not allowed to charge more that the actual cost per child. If another parents overpays then thats different.

As a PTA we certainly wouldnt fund the difference or full place for a non paying parent.

I agree with the poster that said those that really struggle are the ones that always pay but may ask to split over a few weeks.

LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 20:18:47

WorraLiberty yes I always write the amount on the envelope along with name and class. In this case it was £9.00 - I put a fiver and four pound coins in, the pound coins came out of the envelope into dc's bag. Maybe the TA assumed I'd had second thoughts about how much I could afford to pay but hadn't amended the envelope? I don't know! The consent forms always say "I enclose £[stated cost of trip]", there's not a blank space to insert an amount of your choosing.

Thank you for your understanding bearleft and other posters. I do think perhaps schools in affluent areas with affluent families attending sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture, that actually not everyone is comfortably off in the current economic climate. I was talking to one school mum a while back who was also in the same boat - we were a bit shock at being asked to contribute £5.00 per child for something PTFA related within school, I forget what. This meant £15 for me. This mum said her friend's dc attended school in a more deprived area of town, they were doing something similar but the cost to the parent per child per child was £1.00.

asandwichshort I appreciate what you're saying but when there are people worrying about paying bills and the cost of food then tooth fairy envelopes from school rank pretty low on the list of priorities.

Tabby1963 Wed 02-Oct-13 20:37:15

I arrange school trips at my school and can assure you that we make NO profit whatsoever, in fact, the school subsidises the trips through our Fundraising Committee.

For example if I cost a trip at 7.58 per pupil (costs divided by the number of pupils in class), we will charge £5 per pupil, sometimes less if we have enough in the kitty. For trips that cost even more (zoo visit for example can cost £13-14) we peg the cost to pupils at £6 or £7 max.

All pupils are expected to pay.

clam Wed 02-Oct-13 20:51:29

There's no such thing as a free lunch. Or trip in this case. Someone will be paying for you somewhere along the line. The poster who mentioned extra-curricular groups doing trips for half the price, is probably benefitting from subsidies from a parent company. e.g. cub/scouts. Coaches cost a huge amount, and entrance fees are entrance fees, whatever the organisation.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 02-Oct-13 20:52:25

Schools in more deprived areas have access to a lot more pupil premium money and they can afford to run these trips without asking the parents for much.

Schools in slightly more affluent areas don't have access to that type of funding without asking the parents. Even when it is funded by the PTA, it's parents that put the money in.

If schools don't ask and parents don't pay, children don't get to have varied and enjoyable learning experiences during their time at school. It's that simple. I'd much rather schools do whatever they can to give our children as rich an education as possible than just stopped bothering because a few parents complain at the expectation they pay for their own children.

clam Wed 02-Oct-13 20:53:41

"This mum said her friend's dc attended school in a more deprived area of town, they were doing something similar but the cost to the parent per child per child was £1.00."

The event would have cost the same, but maybe their PTA subbed it, meaning they wouldn't be paying for something else, e.g. playground equipment/computers/whatever.

asandwichshort Wed 02-Oct-13 20:57:50

Lazygaga - Surely you can't justify saying you would give your children the money to spend on what is probably tat at the shop but not pay the cost of the trip - the money is still coming out of your purse and not paying bills! And money from somewhere else is subsidising your kid's trip! I know the tooth fairy envelopes aren't a neccesity thats just an example but my kids at my school are absolutely delighted to come to my office and choose a sticker and have a little envelope to take their tooth home in Buying £5 of tooth fairy envelopes makes 100 children happy! but not if I have to use it to subsidise a trip!

Tavv Wed 02-Oct-13 21:02:55

If you seriously think you shouldn't pay in the "current economic climate" then at least raise this with the school, to give an equal chance to others on a similar income to yourself.

After all, everyone else will rightly be assuming any subsidy is for those who genuinely can't afford it.

amistillsexy Wed 02-Oct-13 21:25:21

PTFA money comes from the families anyway, though, doesn't it?
We buy all those raffle tickets, bake the cakes then buy the one someone else bought, provide the toys to sell on the Christmas Fayre stall, then provide the cash for our DCs to but more back. we provide the prizes for the raffles, and pay for the tickets to the talent shows so we can watch our own DCs perform at the end of term.
We do all this, playing the game, to 'raise funds' which are used to subsidise our children's education, which we've already paid for through our taxes.

We are then expected to feel 'grateful' when the PTFA 'subsidise' the class trips to the museum, the zoo, wherever, and we are expected to pay the rest of the costs. Which is fine, except we never actually asked for these trips to be arranged in the first place, and some of us really, truly, don't have that amount of wiggle room in our budget. Yet we are told that this is a 'great experience' for our children, and made to feel bad if we don't cough up...the trip might not happen if not enough parents pay up, so it's 'not fair' on the other children.

The problem as I see it, is that there is no 'cap' on the amount a school can ask for from parents, so there is no way of budgeting for this. some families really are having to budget for every last pound, and a bill of up to £30 for a school day trip may be impossible to find. In my opinion, it is utterly unreasonable for schools to spend money on behalf of parents in this way.

I can't think of any other area of my life where someone spends money on my behalf an then tells me how much I need to pay them without my asking them to do so first. How would it be if, when you went through the supermarket checkout, the operator said 'I've just added a couple of bars of chocolate for the children. The Supermarket Friends association have paid 10p towards them, so all I need from you is 90p.'
That is exactly what is happening with school trips now. There is no choice, and it's the lack of choice that sticks in my throat.

Well, the law as it stands at the moment (no doubt about to be changed by Gove) states that schools may ask, but not insist on a contribution. If a parent doesn't wish, or is unable, to contribute, the child must not be penalised as a result, so if the trip goes ahead, they must be taken anyway, and school must fund the child (there are slight variations to this rule for overnight trips). It is not lawful for the school to add the cost for non-payers onto the costs for other children. If the school feels insufficient contributions have been made they may cancel the trip. In my opinion, if they find that not enough parents are willing to pay for a trip, that might be telling them something about how important the parents feel that particular 'experience' is for their children, or how much of a priority it is for them at the moment. They are exercising their democratic right to say 'no' to having their money spent for them, and I uphold that right.

OP, YANBU, for all the above reasons.

LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 21:42:19

BrokenSunglasses - yes I know schools in poorer areas receive more in pupil premium due to their demographic, however I'm referring to something set and priced by the PTFA. I just feel the perception of people involved may be skewed by their own circumstances and of those around them - to them £5.00 may not seem like much at all; when I'm paying it x3 it seems like quite a chunk of money.

Also re your last paragraph at 20:52 - what if those few parents are "complaining" because they are actually struggling to afford it, not about the "expectation that they pay for their own children"?

asandwichshort no, I'll make them take a couple of quid pocket money they get from my mum for the gift shop. That's fair enough. Also this is the only trip so far they've been allowed to take spending money.

I think several posters seem to missing the point that I have always paid in full for every trip my dc have been on. I didn't even realise until there was a chance comment made by a TA that some parents choose not to pay the full amount. I resent the implication that I regularly decide not to pay for my dc and let others make up the shortfall. I have been one of the ones paying full price every single time!

I am going to speak to the HT to ask if I can pay half this month and half next month.

LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 21:46:28

Cross post amistillsexy couldn't agree more. Couldn't say if you're still sexy but I like the cut of your jib winkgrin.

Viviennemary Wed 02-Oct-13 21:50:00

I always paid in full for all school trips even when the contributions were voluntary. Then I found out somebody with twins who had more money than anybody didn't pay. angry

amistillsexy Wed 02-Oct-13 21:53:57

wink right back atcha, LazyGaga grin

MistyB Wed 02-Oct-13 22:04:48

YANBU to pay a reduced amount for the trip if that is all you can afford at this time.

However, your child's TA was being discrete when she said 'some families choose not to pay the full amount'. She was simply saying that should you have chosen at that time not to pay the full amount, that was completely within your right. She was not telling you that there are lots of families that do this but simply that it is the school party line not to question, judge or make anything of it, should anyone choose to exercise their right not to pay the full amount.

FreshLeticia Wed 02-Oct-13 22:08:00

In my opinion, there are far too many unecessary trips made, esp by coach. It is getting ridiculous really. Why not take the children on a walk, yes, a walk in the surrounding area to look at a) local history - buildings, graveyards, types of work; b) biology/natural history - ponds, canals, parks, forests, woods; c) geography same as b; d) culture - religious and community - mosques, synagogues, churches, shops and community centres which cater for e.g. indian asians, chinese asians, turkish, polish etc etc. Meet people from different cultures.
FGS, even here, in remote west Wales there are all of these things to do in our tiny one-horse town, e.g, engineering, nature, communities, churches, ancient monuments etc etc. There are so many more things to see in bigger towns and cities. Why a coach all the time? Why the zoo or a theme park or theatre? Have the schools no imagination or do trips have to have everything laid on so that the teachers don't actually have to prepare any lesson plans for them?

LynetteScavo Wed 02-Oct-13 22:10:21

I try not to get worked up by this.

I know professional parents who have stood on the playground complaining because school has invited in a theater group and asked them to pay a few pounds to watch a show in the school hall. I think they did pay up, though (as that school would have kept children in the classrooms and let them miss the show hmm)

I have, when I could afford it payed double when paying for trips, as I know some parents won't/can't send in money for trips. I don't want to start trying to second guess who can or won't pay, and I don't want trips cancelled because not enough families have contributed.

Today my DCs school had harvest festival. I sent in various items for the food bank. DD told me exactly who in her class gave in what. I was surprised only 5 children contributed (although it was the families I would have expected). I would be unsettled if only 5 families in her class could spare a packet of rice for those less fortunate. I'm hoping a lot were disorganised, or didn't bother reading the newsletter. I would be sad if 25 families just didn't care. hmm It wouldn't make me think I could join is tight for us, but I would still pay for school trips. I probably won't be buying the school photo, though. grin

amistillsexy Wed 02-Oct-13 22:21:55

I agree, FreshLeticia. If we as a family can't afford to go out for the day to the zoo, we go somewhere cheaper, and closer to home.

If we decide to take the neighbour's kid with us, we don't go with the invite and ask for a 'Voluntary contribution', then pour on the guilt trip and say if they don't pay up, none of us can go shock.

FreshLeticia Wed 02-Oct-13 22:24:00

For example we have a Hari Krishna community here who really welcome local schools and lately my DD's year have been doing Bible stories with a lady locally. They often go to local farms and the church or the mill or the castle or the woods. The woods have woodland skills such as chair-making and spoon-carving. The farms show lambing, shearing and milking. All within walking distance. We have a new and growing polish community here as well.
I would have loved to have been invited to one of the asian communities in my home town when i was a child, but unfortunately in those days...

FreshLeticia Wed 02-Oct-13 22:26:40

I hasten to add that the Bible stories are part of a cultural education, they are not being indoctrinated.
Quite Amistillsexy, quite.

LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 22:30:34

MistyB I take your point.

FreshLeticia you have made a very good point there. Are you a teacher? If so, can you come to work at our school? wink

Lynette I have donated for Harvest every year, (as I say I've always put my hand in my pocket for every single damn thing that comes round). Poor show for only 1/6 of the families to send anything in.

Anyway I'll ask HT re two instalments and hopefully these awful last few weeks won't be repeated so this problem won't arise again in the near future.

Nobody mention Christmas wink.

amistillsexy Wed 02-Oct-13 22:30:39

LynetteScavo The school is not acting lawfully in keeping some children in the classroom because their parents can't or won't pay for the event. They have to ensure that all children are given equal opportunities.

If you wish to make additional contributions to school funds, that is your own affair, but be aware that the school is required to educate all children within the confines of its own budget. If the budget isn't enough, the school should be lobbying Government, and asking parents to do so as well, not relying on 'top ups' from families' budgets.

The contributions to Harvest Festival are a different matter. That is a charitable donation, and a different set of moral arguments apply (quite happy to discuss them if you fancy starting a thread grin )

ExitPursuedByADragon Wed 02-Oct-13 22:35:37

And the teachers go free shock

missmarplestmarymead Wed 02-Oct-13 22:39:15

How appalling that some schools keep children back from watching a theatre show-I think that is cruel. after all, I imagine the theatre group has already been paid so why can't they watch-it is hardly little ones' fault.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 02-Oct-13 22:40:24

to them £5.00 may not seem like much at all; when I'm paying it x3 it seems like quite a chunk of money

I appreciate that it's going to be a lot when you have three children. I have two at secondary and we will have to cut back to be able to afford their trips this coming year. But the choices I have are either pay up or don't allow them to go. If I couldn't find a way for them to go, then that would be down to me, I wouldn't be annoyed that the school has asked. Other children shouldn't be denied the opportunity because I don't have the money.

what if those few parents are "complaining" because they are actually struggling to afford it, not about the "expectation that they pay for their own children"?

Then the complaint wouldn't come across as if it was aimed at the school rather than at themselves or their situation. The school isn't doing anything wrong, they are doing a good thing.

amistillsexy Wed 02-Oct-13 22:40:39

FreshLeticia Can I come and teach at your school as well? It sounds like an idyllic community!

Just for the record, I used to teach in a school in a very impoverished area. I took Y6 on a residential trip for a week every year (pre-DCs!), and the cost was heavily subsidised by...the Head Teacher (who paid outright for more than one child), myself and a few other members of staff. We didn't have a PTFA, as the families couldn't afford to give money away, so they wouldn't have made any money!

I remember going round the local businesses asking them to make cash donations, or to sponsor a child (un-named, of course). The final cost to parents would be as low as possible, and any child whose parents couldn't or wouldn't pay was taken anyway. None of the children knew who had paid what, and the school scrimped and saved all year to go.

LynetteScavo Wed 02-Oct-13 22:44:00

amistillsexy (and others who have mentioned it) It was when DS1 was in reception that children were held back from watching a show - he is now in Y10, so maybe the law has changed, but it always seemed rather wrong to me. It was an old fashioned school in a naice area, with probably almost zero free school meals.

clam Wed 02-Oct-13 22:44:26

"do trips have to have everything laid on so that the teachers don't actually have to prepare any lesson plans for them?"

Oh ffs! Seriously? Have you any IDEA of the amount of work involved in running a school trip?

And as for "And the teachers go free" What, so you think they should bust a gut in organising a fun and educational experience for YOUR CHILD, and yet be out of pocket for it?

Oh yes, I forgot. It's kick the teaching profession week at the moment isn't it.
I don't know why we fucking bother. angry

BrianTheMole Wed 02-Oct-13 22:48:01

I don't think YABU op. If you normally pay in full, but you can't afford to this time, then talk to the teacher or whoevers organising it about paying less. (ps not read the whole thread so apologies if its moved on).

amistillsexy Wed 02-Oct-13 22:49:07

BrokenSunglasses You say that other children shouldn't be denied an opportunity because you don't have the money, but the number of 'opportunities' we can offer is infinite. They could be having an expensive 'experience' every day. Where does it stop? How many 'opportunities' should the school be offering, and who is to say that those opportunities are any better than any others?

I am not disputing that children enjoy trips, and events in school (I bent over backwards to get those for the children I taught), but how many is too many? What's your cut-off point? At what point do parents say 'enough's enough' and stop paying out.

My point is that we need to be given a choice about how we spend our money, and to say 'pay up or your children have to sit out while everyone else has fun', or 'pay up or everyone will miss out on the fun because you're too poor/tight to pay' is Hobson's Choice, and I'm not accepting it.

Daddypigsgusset Wed 02-Oct-13 22:50:27

At dds school, the pta pay for everyone to go on the trips then send a letter with a suggested contribution emphasising that paying is not compulsory and all children will go regardless of whether or not their patents are able to pay. I don't know how many pay the full amount or some or none at all but I am all the more grateful for this way of doing it after reading others' posts

amistillsexy Wed 02-Oct-13 22:56:20

Daddypigsgusset Your school obviously read the bit in the guidance where it says the children mustn't be penalised in any way! I bet they get more coming in with that approach than the 'we'll cancel if not everyone pays' letters!

FreshLeticia Wed 02-Oct-13 22:59:37

No, I'm not a teacher, I'm an ecological science bod grin.
But I have had both our local primary and our scouts group to our smallholding to do nature identification. Trees, plants and birds, riverbank, hedges and haymeadows. There are plenty of people who will do that sort of thing for their local school. My DCs have all walked to the local not working now flour mill, the churchyard, the old school, the castle ruins, a big farm and my little bit of land. Our primary school trip in the summer is usually local beach, picnic, games on the sand and chips on the way home. No entry fees involved.
In senior they do go up to Cardiff to theatre and rugby, but not too often.

When I lived in a northern city years ago it was in an asian area and was a wonderful place to live. I made so many friends and really enjoyed getting to grips with how it worked.
My only regret is that although this area is quite multicultural in that many races and cultures have moved here and there are many mixed families, there are not any really different cultural areas IYSWIM. It is very mixed up together so the cultural differences are quite diluted. I think my DCs would be astounded if they went to Brum or Leeds and saw that the communities were so separate.

ExitPursuedByADragon Wed 02-Oct-13 23:02:09

Clam. Sorry. That was irony.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 02-Oct-13 23:07:55

dd's school go on a lot of trips. they make very little use of the school grounds which could be developed at little cost to enhance learning for all year groups. at least one trip could have been run on site.

I suppose I have been lucky to have worked for head teachers who have had the vision to develop the school grounds with wildlife areas, ponds, willow plantations, orchards.

they do go to town on the bus though sometimes to make use of cheaper transport.

LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 23:13:43

Exit oops. I suspect clam may have combusted.

amistillsexy Wed 02-Oct-13 23:14:20

FreshLeticia I want to come and live there.

The school sounds like it's got the right approach.

Our school is in a beautiful area, with stunning woodland and a safe little stream running through the village. We had to pay for a coach to take the children into the next valley to...walk in the woods and dip the pond.

Not teacher-bashing by any stretch, Clam, but that's ridiculous by anyone's standards.

Tabby1963 Thu 03-Oct-13 07:58:37

Exit teachers and other support staff have to go to meet the 'one member of staff per 8 or 10 pupils' rule. The school trips I organise are educational and linked to topics they are studying at the time. Some trips, for example to church related events (whole school Nativity), are wholly paid for by the school.

Occasionally classes will walk to a local museums or the local woodlands but mostly we use coaches. I was looking at my archive paperwork recently and have noticed a big increase in coach costs (for regular trips) over the last few years, mostly because fuel and insurance costs have vastly increased, for example a doubling of costs.

I have read a poster saying that children who didn't give money for a visiting show were excluded (sitting in a classroom), that is so unacceptable. We don't exclude any child whose parents don't pay. Why should they suffer the shame and embarrassment?

Finally, each class will attend one educational (pay for) day time trip per year. That is the limit at my school.

BrokenSunglasses Thu 03-Oct-13 08:25:04

Amistillsexy, of course there comes a point where it's too much, but the OPs trip is £12 and I don't think that comes anywhere close to being too much.

What is too much will depend on the school and it's individual families, but you are being a bit OTT suggesting that there could be paid for educational experiences every day. That's clearly not going to happen.

I think one reasonably priced experience or trips each term is fine.

Schools can do things more locally, as all the schools I am involved with do, but that doesn't mean that trips further away don't have a very valid place. There's only so many times children are going to enjoy walking to the local woods and pond, and I don't see how those things can serve every area of the curriculum that teachers are trying to teach.

pixiepotter Thu 03-Oct-13 08:34:44

*The only way to not send your DC on the trip is to keep them off school for the day

No it isn't, you don't sign the consent form, you take your child into school and they are sent to another class*

They use the general consent form to take your child unless you specifically revoke consent and in any case in a small school the trips are usually 'whole school' because the cost of a coach means they have to fill it!

pixiepotter Thu 03-Oct-13 08:36:58

There is a lot of rubbish being talked on here.If you are in England and the activity is in school hours (non residential),
1) you have the right not to pay and you have the right not to be chased or questioned on your reasons for non-payment
2) They are not allowed to excludeyourchild from the activity.

LazyGaga Thu 03-Oct-13 10:49:40

BrokenSunglasses I can only assume from your comments on this thread that you have a healthy disposable income because you seem to be unable to comprehend that £24 (I have to pay for two dc to go on the trip) is a fairly substantial amount of money to find when we have had other demands on our cashflow this last few weeks which have left us, to be blunt, pretty fucking skint.

Maybe you think £24 is nothing? At the moment I don't.

NK493efc93X1277dd3d6d4 Thu 03-Oct-13 10:58:29

If enough parents opt not to pay then the school will simply stop organising trips. There are vast differences in the number of trips made between schools. Depends on what you would prefer.

liquidstate Thu 03-Oct-13 11:09:44

I think in this case you should pay what you can afford and not worry about it. It sounds like you are having a tough few weeks. I certainly couldn't afford to produce £24 out of thin air at the moment without resorting to credit cards. Of course when things are better you can pay the full amount for the next trip.

LazyGaga Thu 03-Oct-13 11:10:36

Yes. I. Know. That.

I'll try once more for luck:

We have ALWAYS paid in full for EVERY school trip our dc have EVER been on.

This month we are skint and the school wants £24.

It is this trip, this one off time, to which I refer.

My question wasn't "Shall I stop paying for every future school trip because I really don't want to and I've spent all our money on Champagne, coke and caviar anyway?".

LazyGaga Thu 03-Oct-13 11:11:29

Sorry that was to NK49etc.

LazyGaga Thu 03-Oct-13 11:15:52

Thanks liquidstate.

Feminine Thu 03-Oct-13 11:19:34

op I understand.

My yr4 (at the time) had only just returned from a 2 day residential trip, we were then hit with a request for another close to £200 pounds for another!

I've been scratching around for the remaining £60.

Then... my eldest came home and said he needed another £20 for a 'reward' trip for some of the yr10s.

It never ending!

I thought it was expensive in the US ( school bits etc )

LazyGaga Thu 03-Oct-13 11:29:12

shock *Feminine *- I simply do not remember this much stuff going on when I was at school. We have recently had to pay the final instalment for dc1's residential, that's 8/9 yr olds going away for three nights with the school. When did that start?!

Feminine Thu 03-Oct-13 11:31:56

Right...its never ending.

Each month, I think that it will be a quietmonth ...and then we get hit for ££.

Crazy, too many waste of time trips IMO.

Oh...and don't get me started on all the 'bits' he needs for this little jaunt!

IceCreamForCrow Thu 03-Oct-13 11:41:37

It's very hard to opt out of school trips at primary school. Not unless you want your dc to stick out like a sore thumb.

By senior school it's not very noticable much of the time who goes where or when and big holiday type trips are often during holiday time anyway.

But at junior school the trips are presented as a fait accompli. By the time the parents are presented with the details (and the cost) they've already sold it to the children who think they're going.

MrsZimt Thu 03-Oct-13 12:30:14

OP, we're in a similar situation right now, because this month has been very expensive school wise.
We've had installment for residential trips (£100), a language magazine which I thought was optional and it turns out it's not £10, trip to the town £2, contributions for sports transport £30, contributions for art and dt (£60), a strongly recommended course on financing £20 (bit of irony, that)...

and music for 2 dc plus an upcoming exam £550.

At least some of it is termly.
We have always paid everything we've been asked for, plus pay our dc's secondaries monthly voluntary £25 each to support them.

I need to get a job. We just cannot manage on one salary. I left my job in July as it was making me ill. Don't know if these money worries won't be making me even more ill though sad

I have about £30 to get through the next 2 weeks, we'll have to eat everything out of the cupboard and freezer. I know if another letter with a request for contributions comes in, I will freak out.

Nobody will ever suspect we're so skint at the moment, as dh earns a very good salary. If another request comes, I will have to take it from the dc's savings (and put it back of course).

flowers to you and roll on next pay day.
(no no, we don't want to think about Christmas).

ExitPursuedByADragon Thu 03-Oct-13 12:53:56

We have just had to pay out £25 for a trip to Chester, £30 for a trip to the Clothes Show, £150 for Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and will soon be presented with the £1100 we owe for next year's ski trip.

Oh joy.

Akray Thu 03-Oct-13 13:41:55

I have 3DC in primary school and it seems like they come home every week asking for money for one thing or another. We are in an affluent area and I feel the school definitely plays on this. Whilst our finances used to be good, my DH lost his property business and now we are really struggling but I try to keep up appearances not wanting DC to stand out by not paying. It just means paying for school trips etc comes out of the household budget. My friends DC go to a school in a much poorer demographic and she very rarely gets asked for anything but I don't know if this school will get extra funds from government (we are in Scotland),

My DD has an end of school residential trip in April costing £300. I did expect this as every P7 gets asked to go. I have just put £10 away in a jar, together with spare change each week and hopefully will have enough to pay in full when its due in February. But it is a struggle and £300 could go towards a bill etc. What alternative is there though, if you don't want your child to stand out as different.........

UniS Thu 03-Oct-13 14:44:20

Not ALL schools do lots of pay for trips and activities thankfully. I think DS only had 2 pay trips last year,each costing around 12- 15 quid. One of those he didn't go on. Not because I refused to pay, but because I thought he would have a miserable time and refuse to participate.
They also walked to visit free places at least once a term.

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 14:48:21

If enough parents opt not to pay then the school will simply stop organising trips.

Which is exactly what they should do, if they can't cover the costs from their budgets, because... junior school the trips are presented as a fait accompli. By the time the parents are presented with the details (and the cost) they've already sold it to the children who think they're going.

DuckToWater Thu 03-Oct-13 14:53:25

I do think £12-£15 is a lot for a school trip. I don't think we've ever paid more than £10. Often they keep costs down by keeping it local and getting parents to organise transport.

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 15:00:35

UniS, I have 3 children. If each of them is 'offered' two trips per year at a accost of £12 - £15 per trip, that costs my family around £80 per year. I don't have that amount spare in my yearly budget (seriously!).

Many people are cutting to the bone with finances nowadays. It's not a question of whether or not it's 'worth it', or if it would be more expensive to go as a family because school arranged a discount, it's a question of what you do when the money simply is not available.

It's a funny thing, this 'affordability' issue. If I spend £100 at Tescos every Saturday, can I be said to be able to 'afford' to contribute £24 towards my childrens' school trip to the zoo? The Tesco shop is my choice. I need to buy food, but I have a choice about the food I buy (Value/Budget ranges, or shop elsewhere, etc.). I choosewhere to shop, and, to some extent, what to buy and what proportion of my income I spend on different things.
It is not reasonable for the school to decide that I will give up a quarter of my budget for food this week so that they can take my children out on a trip.

My issue with school trips is that they are spending money on my behalf, without consulting me first. As I said up thread, Tesco don't add things to my basket without asking me, and then expect me to pay for them because my children will like them!

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 15:02:16

DuckToWater I have offered the use of my People Carrier to transport children on trips. Apparently that's not allowed due to Health and Safety. Interesting that it is allowed at your school hmm

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 15:03:15

That [Hmm] is aimed at my school, by the way, not at your post, Ducky. I think using parents to transport children around should be an option!

DuckToWater Thu 03-Oct-13 15:09:52

They just get parents to tick a box saying they have appropriate insurance on the form. I suppose there are risks when you think about it, but none the school feels are too great, obviously!

CrohnicallyLurking Thu 03-Oct-13 15:53:19

We used to just do one annual trip, usually somewhere both fun and educational like the zoo. However, one year, after listening to parents' complaints about the cost (yes, it is usually the coach that is the problem) we arranged for the children to have a fun day in school, there was a visit from an artist and an owl display amongst per things. The parents were asked to pay the princely sum of £1 per child.

We almost had to cancel because parents were refusing to pay on the grounds that 'it wasn't a trip'. They just couldn't seem to understand that any sort of trip was going to cost at least £10 per child just for the transport, and we were listening to their concerns about cost, this was the only alternative.

We do things in the local area like going for walks to look at local churches, however these don't count as 'trips' in the parents' book either, and we struggle to get enough adults to accompany the children (strangely enough there are plenty of parents volunteering for a free trip to the zoo. But not for a walk to the local church)

And to clarify, generally when you book a school trip there will be free adult places offered, and as you can't book a coach for the exact number of children you have anyway, the actual cost of adults going is negligible. Add in the unpaid overtime (I once did an 11 hour school trip on my usual pay of approx £50 for the day- that's nowhere near NMW, and of course contravenes working time regulations because I didn't get a break) and I think you have a bargain. If I was expected to pay for my place, I'd be at least expecting to earn overtime, which would cost the school more in the long run.

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 18:17:19

CrohnicallyLurking I've arranged a visit to the seaside for all the children in your neighbourhood. All you have to pay is £10 each child, as the local children's trip society (that you give money to in various ways throughout the year, so they can collect enough 'funds') has generously offered to fund half the cost per child!. They'll get to do all sorts of fun and educational things. It's next Saturday, so can you please give me your voluntary contribution by next Tuesday at the latest.

Oh, if you don't voluntarily contribute, the trip will have to be cancelled and all the children in your street will be disappointed that they can't go. They are really looking forward to it, so please don't let us down grin
What do you mean, you never asked for the trip? It's a bargain at £10 shock. You can surely afford to give £10 for such a great opportunity for your child, and why should the others suffer because you're too tight to pay up (etc etc, ad infinitum...)

CrohnicallyLurking Thu 03-Oct-13 20:09:13

Ami- I get that parents might feel we're spending their money for them.

But a) we always give half a term (or thereabouts) notice.
B) we allow installments and make this clear on the letter, often asking specifically for a deposit rather than full amount.
C) when we made the decision not to have a trip because parents complained about the cost, the same parents then complained that their children weren't going on a trip! So basically they wanted the trip for free. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
D) I know a lot of parents complain about the other costs involved in a school. Our school tries to keep costs to a minimum. The only logoed items available are jumpers and book bags. Neither are compulsory, and the colours are readily available in any supermarket. The book bags are of sufficient quality to last R-Y6. PTA events occur out of school hours 3-4 times a year, and the most expensive is £2.50. Hence the PTA does not have spare funds to subsidise trips and events, they fundraise for specific items such as playground equipment.

BrokenSunglasses Thu 03-Oct-13 20:21:38

OP, I don't know what makes you think I must be loaded with no understanding of your situation, my suggestion more than once has been that you pay over a longer period of time.

If £24 is hard for you to find this month, then ask if you can pay £12 this month and £12 next month.

I just don't think it's acceptable to allow your children to do things that you aren't willing to pay for. Asking to pay in instalments shows you are willing. Complaining that the school is asking too much and wondering if you should just not bother paying anything, or hoping you can get away with paying less than everyone else doesn't show that you are willing.

BrokenSunglasses Thu 03-Oct-13 20:51:17

My issue with school trips is that they are spending money on my behalf, without consulting me first

You had the choice to opt out of all things related to state education before you enrolled your children in state education.

You have chosen to have three children. Three children is going to be expensive, that much is obvious. I think your opinion that schools should just stop offering these trips is incredibly selfish. Other families may have stopped at one or two children because they knew that over the course of their children's education they might not be able to afford more. But you think that their children should be denied educational opportunities because of the choice you made to have more children than them.

Don't you see how self centred that is?

The point has been made that children stand out from their class if they don't go on the trip, and it is known that schools don't run the trips if enough people, don't pay, so what does that tell you? It says to me that the majority want their children to go on these trips and are willing to pay for it.

It would be horrible for children if the majority of them had their experiences limited because of a selfish minority.

Schools in my experience are very understanding about parents finances, and are very open to accepting payments in instalments. Parents who A&E struggling should make use of that.

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 20:58:29

Sorry, LazyGaga, for hijacking your thread but I just cannot let it lie! grin

I just don't think it's acceptable to allow your children to do things that you aren't willing to pay for.

Not if she asked for those things in the first place, no. But she didn't.

If you ask for a service that costs, you expect to pay for it, but even then, you have the right to say 'no' if you consider it out of your price range.

Why should anyone, in any circumstance, be expected to pay for a service which they haven't requested, and which isn't required, which they can't or don't want to pay for?

It's not about being given notice, or time to pay, it's about choice.

CrohnicallyLurking I can't speak for your parents. It sounds as if the school tried to please one set of parents, and in doing so, failed to please another set.

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 21:07:44

You have chosen to have three children.

Ha. Ha. Ha. grin. Don't you just love people on Internet Forums making sweeping assumptions about others' lives?

You had the choice to opt out of all things related to state education before you enrolled your children in state education.

brokensunglasses, you do understand I'm making a political argument, don't you? If The State gave me the option to opt out of paying for things I don't want to use, I'd be a very happy mother of three indeed! Unfortunately, I've already paid for this, and because it cost me so dear, I must make use of what I've paid for.
That doesn't mean I'm going to accept everything that's thrown in with it without argument. If I did that, I would be a lemming, now wouldn't I?

BrokenSunglasses Thu 03-Oct-13 21:40:28

No, it wouldn't make you a lemming, not when we are talking about something which is undoubtably beneficial for children.

And you do have the option of not making use of offers of school trips. Just writ to your school and ask that your children be excluded from any calculations they may make about the costings of school trips, because you will not be sending your children.

School trips are not compulsory. You are banging on about choice as if yours has been stolen from you, and it hasn't. You just don't want to be put in a position where you have to make a choice in the first place. But as your family isn't the only one that schools need to consider, then that's just tough.

Maybe you didn't actively choose to have three children, but you have them and they are your responsibility. That gives you the right to opt them out of trips you don't want them to go on, and that's entirely up to you. Just don't try and deny these opportunities to other children whose families are willing to pay.

bearleftmonkeyright Thu 03-Oct-13 22:34:58

Broken sunglasses, I feel your whole argument is centred around the idea that parents who don't pay just cant be arsed. In the ops circumstances, I would not feel comfortable going into the school Secretary saying that I am up to my overdraft limit, cant pay, can you sort me out with a payment plan. They do not have time maybe to administer etc. Payment plans also put more pressure on those parents who really don't have the money. It is a voluntary payment. Your argument also does nothing to address the needs of the children involved. If it is a whole school trip who looks after those children and educates them for that day? A supply teacher? Education is still free at the point of delivery and school trips form part of that. So if a parent can't pay, who does? And what form of education do those children receive if they are not on the trip?

kangarooshoes Thu 03-Oct-13 22:40:28

Isn't this what child benefit is for?

School is a complete BARGAIN compared to nursery, I'm still in shock at not paying £150/week...

If you want the trip, you pay. If you genuinely can't afford it, speak to the school, and find a way to pay.

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 22:45:11

From this Dfe document

Voluntary Contributions

Nothing in legislation prevents a school governing body or local authority from asking for voluntary contributions for the benefit of the school or any school activities. However, if the activity cannot be funded without voluntary contributions, the governing body or head teacher should make this clear to parents at the outset. The governing body or head teacher must also make it clear to parents that there is no obligation to make any contribution.

It is important to note that no child should be excluded from an activity simply because his or her parents are unwilling or unable to pay. If insufficient voluntary contributions are raised to fund a visit, then it must be cancelled. Schools must make sure that they make this clear to parents. If a parent is unwilling or unable to pay, their child must still be given an equal chance to go on the visit. Schools should make it clear to parents at the outset what their policy for allocating places on school visits will be.

When making requests for voluntary contributions to the school funds, parents must not be made to feel pressurised into paying as it is voluntary and not compulsory. Schools should avoid sending colour coded letters to parents as a reminder to make payments into the school or maintenance funds. Schools should also ensure that direct debit or standing order mandates are not sent to parents when requesting for contributions.

bearleftmonkeyright Thu 03-Oct-13 22:45:19

Clearly there are people who cannot think outside the prism of their own existence. School is not free childcare anymore than child benefit is for school trips. For many people it forms an integral part of their budget for essentials hmm

BrokenSunglasses Thu 03-Oct-13 23:02:28

My argument is not centred around an opinion that parents who don't pay can't be arsed, I have said more than one that I understand people's financial circumstances can make things very tight for them.

You say you wouldn't feel comfortable with having to go to the school and ask if you can spread the payment as if that's a good enough reason for schools not to offer trips.

Schools will find the time to administer this stuff because they clearly feel that trips are important and worth the effort. If parents really don't have the money, then that's unfortunate, but hopefully the school will be able to find the money from somewhere else to makeup for one or two children occasionally. If not, then as your C&P proves, they have no choice but to cancel the entire trip for all the children.

The answers to your other questions depend on each individual school. Perhaps next time you get a letter about a school trip that you need to pay for, you could try getting over your discomfort and asking your school?

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 23:03:15

School is a complete BARGAIN compared to nursery, I'm still in shock at not paying £150/week...

Don't you realise that you've already paid for school? You've been paying all your working life for it!

this breaks down how much of your taxes goes to which area of the Benefits Bill (as they call it). It suggests that on an annual salary of only £15,000 over the course of a 43 year working life, the earner would have given £11663.75 towards education. You do the math!

bearleftmonkeyright Thu 03-Oct-13 23:14:19

Brokensunglasses, my point was a general one but you seem to be assuming I am also a "non payer". I was merely putting myself in someone else's shoes and trying to widen the discussion. My discomfort is neither here nor there, or whether I have managed to pay for all school trips. The fact that you really cannot seem to fathom is that the contribution is voluntary. If the trip cannot go ahead in school time because of this then maybe parents could organize the trip themselves if they have the means to pay. Then the parents can stop arguing and actually focus on what is best for the children. Because all the children matter.

kangarooshoes Thu 03-Oct-13 23:14:31

According to that, I'm paying £928/year towards education- nursery cost me that a month, and they EDUCATE him too! Over my working career, if I have 2 children, for fourteen years of education, I'm paying under £1500/year. Private school would be £4000/term...

Our school system is good value. If you want the 'extras' you pay.

I have been as broke as broke can be recently, but, honestly, this IS what child benefit is for, money for your children. If you can't afford it in one go, speak to the teachers. School trips need to be accounted for in your budgeting, IF you want your child to go on them. It's voluntary, so just say you don't want your child going on the trips.

bearleftmonkeyright Thu 03-Oct-13 23:21:09

But the school system is not for your benefit, its for children, that is why all tax payers pay. You are not just paying for your children and the trips are not extra, they are part of the curriculum. So if a parent cant pay, who does? Child benefit is not the issue here.

bearleftmonkeyright Thu 03-Oct-13 23:22:25

My point is, why should a child miss out, its not their fault

kangarooshoes Thu 03-Oct-13 23:28:42

Children miss out due to parents making choices all the time.

If I can sort money for trips back before my income went up, believe me, anyone can. I know I can sound sanctimonious about this, but I do do without if my child needs something, or if I want them to have an opportunity.

There will be an option to pay in installments.

And perhaps put a pound in a jar every so often to save for this? (That's what I do, easy to raid when they only remember it has to be paid today, just as you're leaving the house...)

The fact that school trips happen during your child's school life can't have come as such a shock you never thought they'd feature in the budget? It's no different to including school shoes in the budget.

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 23:36:33

School trips need to be accounted for in your budgeting

How much per year should I allocate, kangarooshoes? Because you just made my point for me...if it was a designated, pre-determined amount every year, that would be one thing, but it's not. Different schools have different policies and plans on this, but in some places there are trips, 'events' and 'wonderful opportunities' constantly, all of which require a 'voluntary contribution' of a few quid here, a few quid there, then the 'big trip' that needs a still larger contribution.

How is a parent supposed to 'budget' for such an unknown quantity, which is entirely out of their control?

If you want the 'extras' you pay. That's true, for extras such as music tuition. A trip to a church or a mosque to help illustrate a curriculum is not an 'extra', since it will be referred to and used during lessons. If it's part of the planned curriculum, then the school need to find it in their budget to pay for it, the same way they do when they buy books, and other resources to help them to deliver the curriculum. If the money isn't there in the school's budget, then they shouldn't plan for it.

I believe it would do the teachers in my children's school good, and it would be fun, for them to come on one of my courses for the day. It costs £150 a day per delegate, but I'll happily match-fund it for them. Would I be being unreasonable to send them their tickets, and a request to the school for £75 per teacher to attend? Bear in mind, they won't get the training of they don't all pay me...and some of them will really want to go on it when I tell them how much fun it is, and how it will help them in their work.

amistillsexy Thu 03-Oct-13 23:40:08

You didn't have to, kangarooshoes. To quote from the dfe again

Schools must ensure that they inform parents on low incomes and in receipt of the benefits listed on page 4 of the advice of the support available to them when being asked for contributions towards the cost of school visits

Did your school do that? Mine doesn't.

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 much contribution was required"

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

Done, given, or acting of one's own free will: "voluntary contributions".
An organ solo played before, during, or after a church service.
adjective. volunteer - spontaneous - wilful - willing - deliberate
noun. volunteer

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.
share - donation

1.Need for a particular purpose; depend on for success or survival.
2.Cause to be necessary.
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.


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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