Really cross with school - Young Writers

(91 Posts)
Dancergirl Thu 03-Mar-11 10:09:18

Has anyone else had a child whose work has been published in a Young Writers book?

Young Writers are a publishing company who claim that 'your' child has had a piece of writing selected to be published in a book. A small paperback book which costs £15.99 plus £2 postage!!

It's all done through the school but parents had no knowledge of entries being put in until we received letters saying our child had been selected. Parents (myself included) are angry because a) the school gave out our names and addresses to the company without permission....and b)we are now pressurised into buying this massively over-priced book.

My younger dd also had a poem published in one of these books last year and again parents were cross that details were given out. The teacher admitted it was an oversight and apologised (sort of) but this same teacher has done it again this year!


neets28 Mon 15-Jun-15 19:37:53

Shocking methods to take money from parents but more shocking that they can play on the emotions of young children. My 12 old year old told me today that his letter was from a scam company and to take it off the fridge because it made him sad. Watchdog these scammers...that is where I am going next. Oh and cancelling my cheque.

andien Sun 01-Mar-15 20:11:20

Hi resurrecting this thread as we just got this from school as homework no less! I'm going to complain about it, but what I think is most disturbing of all which no one has mentioned (aside from calling all entries winners and charging £15 for winners!) is that they appear also to collect children's names, addresses and ages and the school they attend. There is NO MENTION on their site about how they protect this data, or if they sell it on to marketers. I would complain heartily to schools who have obviously not bothered (like ours) to really investigate what they are getting their students into.

ToffeeCaramel Fri 27-Feb-15 13:10:54

My ten year old did this when she was about 6 and it's actually quite sweet to look back at the little riddles that she and her classmates wrote at that age. My children have enjoyed looking back at them too. I'm not as interested in the riddles of children I don't know, so for me it's a positive things that lots from her class are in it. She'll leave the school in July and I think its a nice memento. I'm sure there are things I've spent the same amount of money on that have been a far bigger waste. I realise most people on mumsnet feel very differently about it though.

fleecyjumper Thu 26-Feb-15 20:48:17

I can't believe schools are still falling for this nonsense!

Bonnie74 Wed 25-Feb-15 14:12:08

My daughters school handed out certificates only yesterday from the young readers club, my sister in law told me about these "scams" so I went and spoke to the head teacher today and raised my concerns. She has took it very seriously and will be looking into it. I am just glad I got told before sending any money off.... All schools should be shown these complaints, it is, after all, protecting our children from disappointment.

Dancergirl Fri 13-Feb-15 14:09:51

I've been a victim of this again with dd3! Same thing, she brought home the bumph, 'your child has been selected etc etc....' AND a letter from the headmaster congratulating her!

How can I not buy it??

I'm so annoyed, what success have people had when broaching it with their child's school?

WeAllHaveWings Tue 10-Feb-15 22:38:29

Ds has had 3! Pieces of work "published", a poem and a couple of short stories. we haven't bought any books and no pressure to do so (other than a letter which went straight to recycle).

It's. harmless bit of fun and encourages ds to write. In his class of 30 around 15 had their poems published, so quite a lot get done.

revealall Tue 10-Feb-15 22:21:02

I too was a it disappointed at first; the competition bit is a complete con.

However the book looks good with a nice font, each poem on a seperate page and there are lots of enteries from other schools.
Looking back it's lovely to have his poem actually in print in a real book. It's great that the rest of the class are in it too as a memory of them all.
At £16 it compares to the price of school photos and is quite nice as a reminder of their early work.

GabrielleB83 Tue 10-Feb-15 14:02:28

Just to throw in my two pennies, I am a teacher who recently entered a load of my kids into one of these competitions. I did NOT give out their addresses, in line with school policy, but instead used the school address, and all parents would have been aware of what was happening as I set the competition entry for homework, which they are required to supervise as per our home-school agreement.

I had absolutely no idea that loads of them were going to get accepted, and was very surprised (and annoyed) when I got a barrel-load of 'winning' letters back to hand out to the parents of my children. Although I must point out that they had read and checked EVERY single story, and they had sent back the ones that hadn't made it with editorial comments explaining why they hadn't made the cut.

What we decided to do was to publicise the fact that the school were going to get a free copy, and advise parents to wait to order their copy until they had seen our copy and decided whether or not they wanted to spent the £15.99.

I just want to make it clear that the school gets ABSOLUTELY NO cut of any profit. The only 'benefit' is that we get one free copy of the anthology. Most teachers would enter into this competition because they want to get children enthusiastic about writing - and because it's very important for children to feel as if they are writing for a real audience (other than their teacher). It's a pain in the ass to administer such competitions as a teacher, and I promise you, we only do such things because we want the best opportunities for your children, too.

If you are thinking about going to your child's school to complain about one of these competitions, please don't. It is very unlikely that your school has done this as some nefarious trick to play on you and your children. The teachers are probably as surprised and annoyed as you are. Instead, why don't you go in and politely bring it to their attention, and perhaps suggest that they make it very clear to all parents that a copy of the book will be available in the school library? That's what we did, and our parents are quite happy!

fluffywhitekittens Sat 31-Jan-15 17:33:51

Has anyone actually purchased the books and been happy with them?!

MosquitoFood Sun 28-Dec-14 18:09:30

I got a letter about this for my son a few years ago. I didn't pay straight away and a while later I was offered to buy them for £5 rather then the original £16. I brought one then but it was pretty obvious what a con it was when it arrived and entire classes were in it. I'm pretty sure the schools must get a cut. Pretty shoddy if they are compromising data protection for profit.

18yearstooold Sun 28-Dec-14 17:46:22

I can't believe this is still going on

Dd is now in year 8 but when she was in reception they did this and we got letters home

I was livid and went into school to complain

They hadn't realised it was a scam and haven't been involved since

ToffeeCaramel Sun 28-Dec-14 17:34:07

I bought the book when my dd did this four years ago. I don't remember it costing as much as £33 then though. I think it was £15.99 for the 3 for 2 offer. I like having a book with a little riddle she wrote at that age to look back on and it's nice seeing the sweet little riddles that other kids in her class wrote at that age too. I don't regret buying it. It's a bonus for me that we know lots of the other kids whose riddles are in it, not a negative. My younger dd didn't do it as I guess people had complained about it by then. I'd have liked one for her and her classmates, although £33 is more than I'd want to pay.

YvesJutteau Sun 28-Dec-14 17:10:01

I was glad to have read on here about YW because we got a letter from them about DS over Christmas and I was able to bin it before he saw it. If they want a proper bound book of their work we can do it through Blurb or someone like that.

skylark2 Sun 28-Dec-14 16:56:22

MrsTawdry, if your DD is desperately disappointed not to be published (I have no evidence that they only include your child's work in the book if you pay for it, but I bet they do) then there are firms out there who make it easy for you to publish a child's story + illustrations as a book in its own right. Much more reasonable prices, and all your child's own work rather than just part of one page among hundreds.

I'm not going to recommend because I haven't actually used any of them except to advise you to avoid any who suggest this makes your child a "published author" and that complete strangers will be queuing up to buy their book on Amazon if only you pay $$$ for their fancy publication package... it's not true, what you want is someone who will let you buy three copies for you + granny with no setup charges.

MrsTawdry Sat 27-Dec-14 20:06:25

I'm bumping this to add that my DD has "won" as well and I am hopping mad.

The school sent the entry forms home as "homework" and DD spent a lot of time writing hers.

It is MEANINGLESS that she's been "chosen"! Her hard work is all the other children's because it is dressed up as a competition when it's nothing of the sort.

I want the company back on here to explain further and I am talking to school about this!!

I will also start a campaign of awareness about this.

The organisation is doing nothing to improve anything about literacy which school does not do alone!

TangoRaindrop Sat 20-Dec-14 17:41:37

DD received her letter today, and then one by one other parents in her class start updating their FB statuses to say the same. Really feeling vexed now that I've forked out on their three for two pre-publication offer (£33) for something that is meaningless.

skylark2 Tue 09-Dec-14 22:19:44

DD's school did this.

I didn't buy the book, and I forwarded some links about the scam (I agree, that's what it is) to the school.

We spent a while discussing with her that this didn't mean her poem was bad - it just didn't mean anything at all, they probably hadn't even read it - and that if she wanted to try to get published in a meaningful way I was happy to help her do that. When it came down to it, she wasn't that interested.

gavinwalker Mon 08-Dec-14 13:02:28

I had this 22 years ago with my son. listening to radio 4 this morning has just opened my eyes to this and I really thought my son's poem was chosen because it was good and not just published because I paid for it. now i feel cheated.

Jazzbaby Mon 29-Sep-14 22:03:39

I now feel massively relieved after reading these son, 6 years old, was entered by our very highly regarded school into a Young Writers competition without our knowledge or permission. He then came home with a lovely certificate, information pack and yes, you guessed it, a request for money. £16.99 per book. He was over the moon, felt so special and had absolutely no idea that so many other children in his year had also been awarded the same accolade. They are very clever in their wording and make out that your child is really very special and it is a great feat to have been asked to have a story published.

We were all set to pay up and order books for us and Grandparents but I was really suspicious of the price and the information which looked like junk mail!! Needless to say, we didn't, but now I am left with a very disappointed son. This is so unfair and extremely irresponsible of the school.

To make matters worse I just found an article on the internet which details the bankruptcy of a company which sounds like it was the predecessor to Young Writers..same area (Cambridgeshire), same price for books etc etc. So, they lost everything, owing huge amounts to customers and colleagues and then set up again under a different name!! Unbelievable and really scary!

Anyway, I just want to alert everyone to boycott these people and to try not to let your child get too excited about the whole thing. It's a scam.

soundbites Fri 12-Sep-14 14:11:36

I know this is an old thread but we've just got a letter from them – book is £15.99 etc. We slaved over a story that was sent home as homework at the end of last term and I thought it might be an initiative from the council (it was well laid out with tools to help plan the story etc.). I was excited on opening the letter but began to think that they must need to publish a lot of stories to make a long enough book and got a bit suspicious! Then mentioned it to a work colleague who said his daughter had got caught up in it a couple of years ago. It is hugely expensive for what it is, and the letter had grammatical mistakes … hmmm, don't know whether to make a fuss of DD or not now. And whether to tell the school to keep their distance?

wooldonor Fri 29-Aug-14 22:49:48

Thanks LondonLees, I have considered a PM but tbh I don't feel I know the person well enough to know how she would react. We used to work in the same place but it was a fairly large office and we weren't in the same team.

I think I'll just have to hope for the best, she's so proud of her daughter it makes me cross to think it's just a con

LondonLees Fri 29-Aug-14 22:16:59

Wool - I sent my friend a private message when the exact same thing happened. Kinder than posting a comment on her post. I included a link or two and she was v grateful to not be conned but not lose face.

2kidsintow Fri 29-Aug-14 21:29:33

Blimey. We've used We Are Writers (Scholastic) and keep the cost of the books down to £5. And there's no competitive aspect, every child has a poem published in it, and that is know upfront.

wooldonor Fri 29-Aug-14 21:27:27

I know this is an old thread but a friend has posted on facebook that her daughter has been selected to have a price of work published in one of the young writers books.

I don't want to burst her bubble by commenting on her post but equally I don't want her to be conned. Does anyone have any recent positive experience with this company?

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