Regular voluntary parental contributions to state school

(81 Posts)
allyfe Thu 07-Mar-13 11:42:17

Sadly, funding cuts at our primary school are forcing them to try and find creative ways of getting funding for crucial 'luxuries' such as ITC etc. As a result, the parents are suggesting that ask for a regular (yearly or termly) contribution from all parents. It would be voluntary, set up by standing order, by any parent who can afford it.

Personally, I think it is a very sad state of affairs that this is necessary, but I would rather not get into a debate about the morals of this.

Rather, my question is to any parents/teachers/governors in schools where this already occurs, what sums to do you request, and do you know how many parents contribute? And has it reduced the money that parents also contribute to the PTA? Any advice/suggestions would be welcome. Thanks!

forevergreek Thu 07-Mar-13 12:07:11

I think it's a good idea.

If you have a fee to be paid every September it will become know and people can save all year if needed.

£50 in september for better resources and education would be great. That's less than £1 a week.

£50 from 100 pupils would give the school and extra £5000

MrsHoarder Thu 07-Mar-13 12:26:09

They have to be very careful about the legalities, if its not very clearly voluntary then they could get into trouble for trying to charge for entrance to a state school.

Our old PTA used to run a "hundred club": basically similar but there was a monthly draw with a cash prize.

Labro Thu 07-Mar-13 14:29:40

ds last school had this, it was called the 'govenors fund' and the suggested voluntary contribution was £30 a family (large primary school) Not sure how they arranged it but had standing order forms etc and you could contribute more or less if wished.

Bonsoir Thu 07-Mar-13 14:37:32

I think this is a good idea and a better alternative to bake sales, tombolas, bring & buys etc as a form of fundraising - it is clear to all and sundry and involves no messy organisation.

starfishmummy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:04

DS's school sent a note out asking for a voluntary donation of £5 per half term. They asked once and then never again so I think there must have been complaints and it fizzled out. So we are back to being asked for a pound or two here and there as needed.

megandraper Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:23

I don't know - I think that if I was going to pay a regular contribution, I would want a say in how it was spent, not just hand it over.

Bonsoir Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:57

Even better if the school is very pro-active in communicating how the money raised is spent, so that everyone can see the benefits.

pooka Thu 07-Mar-13 14:40:18

We have an annual voluntary contribution of £20 per family for the school fund. NOt for stuff like ICT but really as a contingency fund to cover any shortfalls in school trip contributions etc.

You can pay via parent pay (as for school lunches etc). No individual reminders, but maybe a general email in December/March to remind parents of voluntary contribution (so no hassling those who cant or dont want to pay).

EarlyInTheMorning Thu 07-Mar-13 14:41:34

Our school requests £30 school fund plus £30 capitation fund per child per year. Newcomers at the school assume that everyone pays, so they start paying. I always pay because I can. I know a great deal of parents who refuse to pay because they simply don't want to pay. As soon as this becomes common knowledge contributions go down - 'if they don't pay why should I' kind of culture. The parents that don't pay because they can ill afford it are not vocal about it. And of course why should they, it's a private matter.

lougle Thu 07-Mar-13 14:42:48

"for crucial 'luxuries' such as ITC etc."

Now there's an oxymoron grin

I'm not sure. Isn't that what PTAs are for?

Mutteroo Thu 07-Mar-13 14:44:58

£50 'donation' suggested at DS sixth form college. Can pay it via the parental payments system the college is part of or pay by cheque. Simple!

wonderstuff Thu 07-Mar-13 14:46:26

My DDs school ask for £11 a year. The school I work in doesn't ask for any money and in fact funded school uniform for each child in Sept.

tallulah Thu 07-Mar-13 15:00:44

50 quid in September forevergreek?! We had 4 kids at school at the same time,3 of whom had September birthdays, and really struggled to find the 10 pound 'voluntary' payment demanded with menaces.(we would get regular reminders all term until I told them to sling their hook).

This sort of debate really shows the difference between the haves and have nots. On paper we are well off but struggle to pay bills. No way could I find that sort of money.

jammietart Thu 07-Mar-13 15:11:20

We do as DS's school isn't fully funded and they have to find the money for maintenance and upgrading of the building. We are asked for £10 per child per month. We pay £50. Aparently 60% of parents contribute but I don't know total amount rec'd. Still the same PTA stuff plus one off fundraising such as Balls etc.

PatriciaHolm Thu 07-Mar-13 15:57:23

We have a Governor's fund too, people contribute on a monthly or yearly direct debit, which is used for things such as Ipads, as well as the PTA which is generally for more "frivolities" such as playground equipment, fun activities etc. This is a relatively affluent area though.

Lovelygoldboots Thu 07-Mar-13 16:03:43

We don't have it. With three children in the same primary I couldnt afford it, wouldnt pay and therefore would feel awful. I have enough trouble keeping on top of the dinner money.

lougle Thu 07-Mar-13 16:09:12

"We do as DS's school isn't fully funded"

In what sense isn't it fully funded, jammietart?

noisytoys Thu 07-Mar-13 16:45:51

We have a £15 a term 'voluntary' contribution, plus £12 a term swimming money (children can't swim if they don't pay), £10 a term milk and snack money and £2-5 a week for whatever they feel like collecting for. It's too much

forevergreek Thu 07-Mar-13 17:30:48

I still think £50 in sept is fair. I know people have just brought uniform
Etc, some have birthdays but that happens all year around. If you say January people will say too close to Xmas.

Like I said it can be saved all year around. I would want a £1 here and there for non uniform days etc though if a lump sum is paid at te beginning. That finding a couple of pounds each at short notice will be just as hard for some as knowing a payment is due in advance.

Several siblings at one school. Maybe a £50 donation per pupil, but if more than one then the extra is discretionary. So some with 2 children will pay £100 if they can, others £65 if easier.

I know it's tough but if you were told today, that you needed £50 on 1st September a late portion of the population could pay. A few pound put by each week.

Education is IMO more important than buying many other things that people do regularly.

Even if those v hard up can contribute a small offering it's better than nothing.

Personally I can't see free education existing in say 10 years time. Wages will need to be increased, materials on the rise, health and safety needed higher ratios, costs of running a school increase. The budget won't last forever

StuffezLaBouche Thu 07-Mar-13 17:35:45

We call ours school fund and it's 50p a week - totally voluntary. It's kind of our 'petty cash.' We are a small school of 130 or so children and not many remember, but it does help. Many parents often slightly over pay for things and say to put the rest into school fund. No obligation, however.

wonderstuff Thu 07-Mar-13 18:31:32

Forevergreek I totally disagree, £50 is an awful lot of money, people are making decisions between eating and heating, we have parents who can't afford the bus fare to get to schools some days. Of course education needs to remain free, there is no reason to suggest it won't. The current squeeze on govt spending is entirely down to reduced tax revenue following a fall in employment when the banks got into trouble, we are having difficulties because so many people were employed in financial services.

mummytime Thu 07-Mar-13 18:47:51

DCs schools have voluntary funds. I don't think they give a suggested amount, but may have a list showing how much your contribution could buy eg. £5 a month buys tissues for one class. They also used to run a 100 club at the primary.
There is also a Sainsbury's voucher scheme, where you buy vouchers for Sainsbury's shopping, and the discount instead of coming to you goes to the school.

In the US I have heard of classes displaying "wish lists" for things like pens, Pritt sticks etc.

sausagebaconandtomatobutty Thu 07-Mar-13 18:52:06

My high school used to do this when I was there 20 years ago

My dad refused to pay it and I can clearly remember being single out by my form tutor for not bringing it in and I saved up and paid it myself in all the remaining years at the school hmm

higgle Thu 07-Mar-13 18:57:22

We used to pay £5 per month by standing order, not sure what they spent it on but if everyone did that then they would have had atidy figure to pay for the extras needed. Quite frankly I'd rather send some money than get dragged into PTA cake sales, Christmas Fair etc.

TheSeniorWrangler Thu 07-Mar-13 19:04:16

50 is more than i could afford.. i struggle to squeak 5 quid spare in my budget, never mind 50 quid.

10 a term per family (not per child) would be reasonable imho.

niminypiminy Thu 07-Mar-13 19:06:48

£50 sounds fine -- all these small amounts sound fine -- until you remember that there are children in every school who come in hungry, and that there are parents who are having to choose between eating themselves and feeding their children, and between eating and keeping warm. And then, when you've remembered that, you need to remember how shaming it would be to be one of those parents who couldn't pay, or one of the children whose parents couldn't pay, and to remember how sharp eyed children are at picking out the poor children, and how cruel they can be.

Voluntary contributions soon become a way in which class and income divisions are yet again marked within school and between schools. As such I think they should be banned, and I would certainly refuse to pay one -- in fact I would be very chary of sending my children to a school that asked for one.

redskyatnight Thu 07-Mar-13 19:10:02

Depends rather on the make up of the school I would think?
At DD's school many parents are saving £1 a week to go towards the £15 school trip in July as they can't afford it otherwise but are determined to pay it.
They do not need any more pressure to put aside money for a "voluntary" annual fee.

jammietart Thu 07-Mar-13 19:22:08

We're not in the UK so it's slightly different system. RC state school, building owned by the Church, staff, resources etc all paid for by the LEA but the fabric of the building not covered so it falls to the school and parish to support that. Stuff like refurb of infant toilets, new roof etc.

jammietart Thu 07-Mar-13 19:22:48

Sorry that was to lougle

scarlettsmummy2 Thu 07-Mar-13 19:28:52

Grammar schools in northern Ireland have this- it tends to range from £400 a year to £2000. And it isn't really voluntary as you wouldn't not pay it! You are invoiced. Not sure of the legalities but I have never heard anyone complain.

ImNotCute Thu 07-Mar-13 19:32:18

Dds classroom has a money box and parents are encouraged to give 50p a week, I've no idea how much they actually get but since we can afford it I give about that.

It's not pushed and is used to fund little extras like baking ingredients to cook with the kids. I'm not sure I'd want to be chipping in like that for computers- surely state school funding ought to be sufficient for IT equipment? But I wouldn't necessarily expect the tax payer to pay for the class to have cupcakes!

LynetteScavo Thu 07-Mar-13 19:37:20

DSs high school ask for £60 per year (or £5 pm) which I don't and never have paid.

His junior school asked for something like £10 a term (I can't remember now) I didn't always pay it, but when DS was receiving lots of extra help from the school, I did give them a decent cheque, becuase I could afford it at the time. They have since stopped asking for contributions, and if even if I wanted to, I don't think I could give the school a cheque....I suppose I could donate to the PTA, but I think that's a different fund.

The school PTA do very well, though, and I give them enough at the school bingo and summer fair. grin

TuesdayNightDateNight Thu 07-Mar-13 23:07:43

We are asked for £10 a term. It's voluntary but they really push it. Reminders constantly, both generally and individually.

In theory it goes towards trips. So far DD has only been to the park across the road so I'm not sure that merited the £10 !

admission Thu 07-Mar-13 23:38:36

To be very brutal about this, whilst no school has enough funding, they do know what their funding is and they should be budgeting appropriately. Could I suggest that if they need to be asking parents for funds that are buying the likes of pens and paper then they need to look to where they should be saving some money in the current budget, not relying on the charity of parents.
There are very clear rules about what can and cannot be charged for and I would question whether some of these schools are actually legal in the way they ask and expect these donations.

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 08-Mar-13 00:19:20

I would have no problem contributing if I thought it was in my child's best interest. My best friend is an English teacher- they can't even give out handouts as there isn't enough money for photocopying. No money for new text books so using ones that are thirty plus years old- that is the reality in many state schools, so how anyone could begrudge a few pounds a month is beyond me. Fair enough if the household is workless, but people can't totally relie on the state in the current economic climate.

BackforGood Fri 08-Mar-13 00:31:37

When asking for money, I think it always helps if people can see what it is being / has been spent on. A note in the newsletter maybe.. "Thanks to all who have contributed to school fund this last half term, we collected £x and have purchased balls and skipping ropes for breaks and lunchtime play" type thing.

MirandaWest Fri 08-Mar-13 00:53:16

I remember school fund when I was at primary school

LePetitPrince Fri 08-Mar-13 01:56:18

One Jewish school I know charges close to £100/month per family, supposedly for Hebrew and security. Not surprisingly it has the lowest FSM rate in the borough.

Optional? Hmmmm, no idea.

Thumbwitch Fri 08-Mar-13 02:10:14

It's standard practice in Australia, and goes to help fund actual crucial items such as stationery etc. Ours is termly (4 times a year), and is "suggested" to be AU$35 for primary children (bearing in mind that it's "voluntary"), although there is a reduction for each child if you have more than one child at the school.

We had a "voluntary" contribution at preschool as well - that was AU$20 per term, again for stationery, paints etc.

AU$35 ~ £24
AU$20 ~ £13

mummytime Fri 08-Mar-13 06:48:29

If you are Overseas then a comparison with the UK/England is not really valid. As the underlying philosophy is different, underlying in the UK has been the idea that all schools should be excellent, and no areas/groups of parents should be able to buy their way to superior facilities/schooling. If you wanted that you had to go private.
Of course the government is turning its back a little on that, and with free schools and some of the funding opportunities for Academies, there is more flexibility. However, enforced/virtually mandatory parental contributions are not allowed; just as all contributions for mandatory school trips have to be "voluntary".
My DCs school helps its funding a lot by also: training teachers, TAs, school support staff, even cover supervisors (which they don't use themselves).

Thumbwitch Fri 08-Mar-13 08:49:41

Perfectly "valid" to post to show how much we are charged, thank you mummytime! IF the UK plan to move in the same direction as Australia, then people might as well see the comparison.

mummytime Fri 08-Mar-13 10:25:08

Sorry Thumbwith my terminology might have been clumsy. I don't think the UK is planning to move in the same direction as Australia, just as even nice MC schools do not have PTAs that raise the £1000s that US ones do.

Its just like English school parents would be horrified if asked to buy Textbooks - like they do in Ireland and France.

Thumbwitch Fri 08-Mar-13 10:41:49

High school children in Australia have to buy their own textbooks as well - but not Primary. However, anyone who gets any kind of payment (Child tax credit etc.) from the Govt here gets a subsidy towards school costs, so it kind of balances out.

I fear that the Australians are rather taking their cues from Mr.Cameron et al at the moment - our Liberal (AKA Tory) Premier of NSW has just announced huge cuts in funding for schools, health, welfare, disabled programmes, old age care etc. So I can imagine that the school cost subsidy will go soon enough.

allyfe Mon 11-Mar-13 14:22:53

Sorry for coming back to this a little late, but thank you all so much for your helpful/informative comments. It surprises me how common it is. But is very useful information. At the school there is a bit of 50/50 split of those for and against.

allyfe Mon 11-Mar-13 14:24:08

Admissions, the question about the budgets is an important one. It is an issue which the parents are trying to help with/address at the same time. Does anyone know whether Governors meetings are generally open?

admission Mon 11-Mar-13 14:33:56

In theory any governing body meeting is open as long as the subject is not deemed confidential, because it is for the governing body to allow any person to attend the meetings and any GB that refused entry to a meeting would just be storing up trouble for the future.
Allyfe I would have real concerns if it is the parents who are trying to help address budget issues. That is clearly something that the senior leadership team and the governing body should be resolving and if it is taking the parents to get something moving then that says there is considerable doubt whether the SLT or GB have the capacity to make the right decisions.

Moominmammacat Mon 11-Mar-13 15:22:45

We do it at comprehensive ... £100 per child per year.

lesmisfan Mon 11-Mar-13 16:42:30

Lepetitprince. Try £100 per child per month not per family or even more for some Jewish schools. It covers Jewish studies staff & materials and security staff.

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 16:58:06

At DS's super-selective we pay about £25.00 per month hmm which was a bit of a shock and doesn't entirely go unnoticed out of my monthly salary. It felt churlish to say no but have to say it's a bit of an 'ask' in these tight economic times.

I think the main beneficiaries are the sixth formers who do more than three A Levels - fine and dandy for those whose DSs do sciences etc...but in a way its subsidising other people's children. DS is already showing more of a leaning towards the Humanities so I am already starting to think that we are not investing in our own son's future but other people's children.

It's a difficult one though. Know at DD's primary school there is one particular year group where the parents are just downright awkward about paying for anything from donations for mufti day to school trips to visiting theatre etc..... I get the feeling that the payments the rest of the years make subsidise them and it does annoy - particularly as I don't think for most it's really about the money

Astley Mon 11-Mar-13 17:37:52

I would pay any amount up they asked if everyone did the same. But I resented paying at nursery when half the parents didnt.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 11-Mar-13 18:37:59

We dont have this but would gladly contribute to assist the school. Agree with Astley, it should be all who pay not just some as everyone benefits.

notapizzaeater Mon 11-Mar-13 18:47:06

I'm a govenor so I see the budget and tbh it covers "vanilla" school but we don't want our children to be taught vanilla - we want colours ! The teacher could talk them through a science / cooking lesson but its so muc better if they actually do the lesson but he budgets just will not cover it. Lots of teachers at our school fund these themselves rather than the kids missing out.

LatteLady Mon 11-Mar-13 19:52:05

I am the Chair at an inner city school and have been involved in both denominational and non-denoninational schools. Schools of a religious nature do not receive the same amount of budget as a non-denominational school. It is up to the governors to collect these funds in religious schools which is why they are known at Governor's funds.

The only time that you can dictate how funds are spent is when they are donated by your Parent and Carer's group.

You cannot make the giving of these monies compulsory, these are state schools, you can request payment but you must not hassle parents as this will be seen by Courts as Harrassment.

At the Catholic school we asked for a £10 per child per term donation, with a cap of £50 per family per year spread across the year... it was a Catholic school!

Frankly OP, I am delighted that £50 in September is not a struggle for you, but honestly, you have no idea what struggles other people have with their budget whilst keeping up appearances in front of you. As a child my mother would not claim FSM for me, lest I be bullied or set apart from the others... little did she know how much I worried when I saw her totting up columns of figures trying to make our household budget balance.

So, £50 is too much... try the honesty bar approach... you may get more than you think.

Finally, ask for a copy of the budget, it will be given to your governors each term, you are entitled to see all approved minutes and papers unless there is something on there which indicates personal information about a member of staff or child, in which case it can be redacted. A budget should should not do this as salaries for staff will be bundled.

admission Mon 11-Mar-13 22:21:53

Sorry Lattelady but the only difference in funding for faith schools is around capital budgets. Any faith school will get exactly the same amount of school budget funding as any other community school if they had exactly the same pupils and are in the same LA.
When it comes to capital works to do with the building then yes the school or the diocese has to raise 10% of the costs but not on the general funding for the school.

fuckwittery Tue 12-Mar-13 22:54:30

Dd goes to a voluntary aided catholic school and we contribute 15 quid a term. Can't remember if a figure was suggested we set up a standing order when dd1 was in nursery. I don't think it matters whether its a contribution to capital budgets or funding for the pupils, they still need to raise additional funds. The Parents Association seems to do lots of fundraising activities which fund extra school trips and equipment for the children. I'd much rather contribute extra cash than feel constantly guilty for not bringing in cakes and things for the tombola but that's because I'm currently cash-comfortable and time poor! I can see there's a social side to the fund raising as well.

fuckwittery Tue 12-Mar-13 22:58:13

50 quid every sept was not the OP's idea btw latte lady and a couple of others who've picked up on this suggestion - was a different poster

£30 per year per child here, plus £25 swimming fund. Wouldn't mind so much but there is a request for money every single week. This week there has been a film night for a fiver and a house day where all children need 'pocket money' to join in the activities.

cece Tue 12-Mar-13 23:07:21

I pay £3 per month DD to my DC Junior School and the same amount to the Secondary school.

marriedinwhiteagain Wed 27-Mar-13 21:44:18

DC's CofE school asked for voluntary contributions because of the maintenance grant. It was a fantastic school and met everything it promised and we were happy to pay and donate some more. It was a voluntary payment and £90 per annum per child was suggested.

DD went to a cofe secondary school which used to be in the top 100 and most sought after. A the end of year 8 the governors requested a 300% increase in the voluntary contribution. The school had not fulfilled the promises made at admisssions and we had already decided to transfer dd to another school.

Had she stayed there I wouldn't have paid the increase. I think parental contributions in the context of money form part of a contract and if schools are not fulfilling their part of the bargain they cannot expect parents to donate money they are neither statutorily nor contratually obliged to give.

Had dd's school fulfilled the promises made at admissions we would happily have paid £3k rather than £300. Sadly it fulfilled no promises at all and as far as I am concerned in doing so forfeited the right to request money for nothing.

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 10:05:42

I think almost all Church schools have to do this as they are classed as voluntary aided. I am not sure what percentage of funding they do or don't get but ours is for the building fund which the local diocese control. so we are asked to contribute £50 a year in 10 £5 direct debits or in blocks depending on circumstances. that is per family not per child and the school has to contribute x amount a year to the diocese who then give much more back when building work is needed.

At first I was a bit put out because I hadn't realised and I thought it was a bit much for a non private school but now I understand why then I don't mind. We can afford to pay £5 for 10 months of the year and as my children are only just starting and lots of work is going on then they will get the benefit of all this money too.

our PTA is entirely separate and raises money throughout the year in different ways and then makes up shortfall if required. Unfortunately this is often the case so money that could have been spent on books has to go to the building fund but thats the way it is. there isn't an endless supply of money I suppose. If a family genuinely can't afford it or can only afford a £5 contribution then I would hope it would be understood and their small contribution accepted gratefully. In quite a few cases where people don't pay though I suspect there are a minority of families still able to have nice holidays etc unlike us whilst enjoying the new buildings they haven't contributed towards whilst other families really struggle and try to contribute.

I think if a school was to introduce it then they should make it very clear to parents exactly how it would all work and where the money would go, if excess money what would it be put towards, try not to put parents under pressure as often the families with the least are the ones who then go out of their way to try and help pay things like this so it must be clear it isn't compulsory but is hoped for. Very hard situation for schools as funding really just can't cover everything we all naturally want our children to have access to.

RegularVoltaire Thu 28-Mar-13 10:34:05

I feel so ignorant about this. I had no idea people were being asked to pay for their child's state education other than adhoc fundraising or the yearly contribution for voluntary aided faith schools. I'm genuinely shocked.

We have fund raising events regularly throughout the year, some for school funds and some for Christian charities. We are constantly asked for voluntary contributions (which most emphatically are not voluntary!) for school trips and for visitors into school, but we are not asked for voluntary payments to the school through standing orders.

£50 per child per year in September would kill me. With 3 dc and 3 lots of uniform, there's no way I could afford this.

I would be looking for a different school.

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 11:07:43

admission is that true that voluntary aided only have a difference in funding for buildings etc? I was under the impression that it was more complex than that. I know they get the same funding re teacher but I thought other funding was different. certainly the voluntary aided schools round us have fewer IT facilities, fewer and older books etc than the state schools and rely on the PTAs much more heavily than the state schools appear to. Mind I don't claim to know much about it - that was just the impression I received from looking round local schools and friends kids going to them

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 11:49:39

yep admission is right

Voluntary-aided (VA) schools are maintained schools and often, but not always, have a religious character. These schools are eligible for capital funding by grant from the Department. These schools are paid on a similar basis to other categories of school, but the governing body must usually pay at least ten per cent of the costs of capital work. Responsibility for work to VA school premises is shared between the school's governing body and the LA. In simple terms, the LA has responsibility for the playing fields and the governing body are liable for all other capital expenditure.

My DS's VA church school asks for an annual voluntary donation of £15 / family for maintenance of the buildings, for which they claim Gift Aid. It's been £15 / family for the past 10 years.

SunflowersSmile Fri 29-Mar-13 06:54:51

This simply would not work at our primary. People struggle with money and school would be seen as scrounging.
PTA has to be careful how much it charges for discos and Bingo etc for the children let alone asking for money as donation to school.
Nursery does have a tin where if you feel able a £1 every half term suggested to pay for cookery ingredients etc. No pressure at all to put anything in and certainly no tin rattling.

sashh Fri 29-Mar-13 07:11:05

So what is going to happen when benefits are paid as vouchers instead of cash?

amidaiwish Fri 29-Mar-13 10:00:10

All faith schools have this iirc. They have to fund 10% of the maintenance etc costs themselves so we have an annual £30 per child payment. It is voluntary but not really iykwim, you have to give a good reason for not paying it.

ByTheWay1 Fri 29-Mar-13 10:35:33

Wow - have not heard of this at our schools - and we are only over in the South West.... Would not really be happy to pay for school stuff.
We have the usual fetes and discos etc - they raise money for specific stuff, but our school does not seem to "go without" anything, we have an active PTA, we get asked to bring in any books we have finished with, board games we have finished with etc...

parents tend to give time rather than money..... we painted the library (a local firm donated the paint), planted round the playground etc.. - the PTA put on a barbie and we all bring a plant and/or a spade/paintbrush/hammer and nails (and our own beer)

the governors enter EVERYTHING in the local papers/supermarkets that give the school money.... we get £thousands from these sources, but no - have never been asked for a regular donation - and to be honest would be a bit hmm about it if we were...

BTW, is yours a voluntary aided faith school or a voluntary controlled one? That's the difference.

Elibean Fri 29-Mar-13 11:35:37

It was suggested at dds' primary at one point. I was mostly against it, on the basis that those who can't afford it feel pressured even if it's 'voluntary' - it would be yet one more divider between groups of families.

I would be fine with a system whereby parents could make donations easily, some sort of standing account thingy with a link on the website for example, but not any regular request for 'voluntary annual contributions'. No, no, no.

Elibean Fri 29-Mar-13 11:36:55

But then, I get quite shock by the local primaries that throw PTA balls with ticket prices of £60+ per person, too. Half the parents babysit for the other half's children, and even though they may get a shiny new playground out of the proceeds - not sure the social divisiveness is worth it. There are other ways of fund raising.

ByTheWay1 Fri 29-Mar-13 13:58:54

I haven't a clue what type of school ours is, just it's not a faith school - bog standard ordinary state school with governors - whatever that counts as...

Floggingmolly Fri 29-Mar-13 18:40:26

Ours are: Primary = £75, Secondary = £120. They are voluntary added schools, though.

BTW, so probably not VA then, as they are usually faith schools where the Church has a hand in governing and funding. Hopefully you'll never be asked to make a donation to the Governors, then. smile

My school is looking at options having seen the budgets for next year. At the mo there is no regular charge / contribution / fund, but they did ask for £1 towards ingredients for cookery in the most recent D&T topic.

What many parents do not realise is how much the teachers provide out of their own pockets in order to keep things operating. My class ran out of whiteboard pens this term. The school has none left and the class budget was spent by the previous teacher (I took over in Jan). She spent it on card and pritt stick, which is great, but I've just spent my own cash on a stash of dry-wipe pens. I also buy all of the laminating pouches for resources. I noticed at the end of term that we have only 2 red pencils in the entire class and very few green ones (loads of pink though!) so I'll be buying coloured pencils during the hols too.

Year 2 ran of of normal pencils so their teacher went to Staples - she ended up with a list from other staff... all from our own pockets.

TheChimpParadox Fri 29-Mar-13 23:18:53

we pay monthly £10 ,with goes towards funding Teaching Assistants. The aim is to have a TA for every class not just one per year group .

Roseformeplease Fri 29-Mar-13 23:26:41

Never heard of this in Scotland. I think parents would be shocked...

JinxyCat Wed 17-Apr-13 17:28:40

We are asked for a weekly £1 contribution for extras like baking etc, and are constantly in a fundraising merry-go-round (tombolas, raffles, discos), and get asked for additional money for extra activities, e.g. £2 for Science demonstration this Friday.

They are all 'voluntary' although I get text reminders to buy things or pay money.

We are fortunate in that we can afford these charges, and in fact I've just put in extra as I found out that we were the only ones in my son's nursery class who had paid the voluntary contributions for the science demo.
(not saying to show off, I actually think it SHOULD be that way - just like taxes, those who earn more pay more).

My DH vehemently disagreed that I should have done that, he thinks that if no-one else pays then we shouldn't either - but I think that if I didn't, maybe next time they won't organise anything like that which would affect DS1 and DS2 when he goes there. I know we're lucky to have the option.

I empathise with all those families who struggle to find the money for basics, let alone luxuries like 'voluntary' contributions for schools - but maybe a fixed amount would be easier than the constant demands.

No right answer - and it's a tough line for the schools to walk with having to ask for 'voluntary' donations and then chasing for the money.

I like the idea of the honesty box - you might get more than you think.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 18-Apr-13 02:02:14

I have two DC's in Primary. A £50 charge per child would NOT get paid. I have to save £5 a week all year round to pay for school uniform and shoes and PE kits for my DC's (I also have a Secondary aged DD). There is just no way I could pay this.

I can guarantee that if the DS's school started asking for this (which they no doubt will, they've just become an Academy, and DD's tried asking when they became an Academy), I would write the same letter I did to DD's school reminding them that repeated letters home to those parents that cannot (or choose not to) pay a 'voluntary' contribution breaches a line and becomes harassment.

I CANNOT pay a charge like this - DD's school requests £30, but I get ONE letter a year now, unlike the personalised ones I was getting before when I hadn't paid.

I could pay this charge - but then my DC's would either have school uniform that fits OR school shoes that fit, but not both...

daftdame Thu 18-Apr-13 11:34:38

As others have mentioned already, I think there needs to exceptionally good communication as to how the money has been spent.

The school also should be ready to listen to parents views on how they think the money should be spent and what amount is reasonable (so great that you're canvassing opinions).

I also think a 'hard sell' approach would be wrong, you can not expect parents to want to disclose all their financial details to explain why they do not wish to contribute if they don't. It might be an idea to make the contributions relatively anonymous, with any amount of contribution valued, so there is absolutely no pressure.

However the option to contribute is great, many can contribute money but not their time so it is a way for them to be involved.

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