Is this enough warning for payent for a school trip?

(26 Posts)
AngiBolen Fri 29-Nov-13 21:32:20

Letter came home in October saying DS (Y10) was to go on a compulsory geograaphy trip which would cost a total of £180.

£30 was to be paid by the end of October, the remainder by the end of February.

This was the first I'd heard of or thought about this trip, which made me feel a bit stupid, because when I thought about it even when I was at school geograhpy GCSE had a compulsory trip.

So I paid the first instalment, and have just paid £35 more....DH and I both work, but have 3DC, and have to have to keep a very close eye on our budget. I've realised becuase I've paid the £35 instalment, I now will have to give up some other luxury, which will probably me my works night out.

Is this normal for a school trip? Is this normal for life? I won't tell you all how much our family income is, as there will be 100 posts telling us that should be more than enough to suport a family of 5.

The school is a comprehensive in an affluent area (with highish house prices) ....surely there will be other families struggling to pay for the trip.

I wondering whether to ask relatives to contiribute for DSs Christmas/birthday present, but feel that would be a bit mean, and would rather go without myself.

Leeds2 Fri 29-Nov-13 22:11:43

Sounds rough to me. My DD is doing geography GCSE, and has done trips to Snowdon and Iceland, but neither were compulsory and a lot of the GCSE students didn't go.

They should also have given you more notice of when payment was due.

I don't think it unreasonable for relatives to contribute as a birthday/Christmas present. I know my parents loathe spending £30 on a Sims game, but would happily contribute the same amount of money to an educational trip!

MillyMollyMama Fri 29-Nov-13 22:49:22

Actually I do not think it is hugely unreasonable, but it should really have been flagged up at the start of the GCSE course, ie in September or when FCSE choices were made. At my DDs school they always did a schedule of trips about a year in advance but many were way more expensive than this. There are always a few that cannot afford to go, or do not want to go, but if you are both working I would try and see how you can afford it. I would put a school trip down as a priority and go without, personally. These trips are normally very helpful for keen learners. Could be worse, they could be going to Iceland. Why not start a saving scheme for all your children to fund trips, or save any child benefit, if you get it? I am sure many people will be feeling the pinch at the moment, but children cost money and I am sure the school has tried to keep costs down. Perhaps you could ask for more notice in future as you may not be the only parent who needs a but more time to save up.

lljkk Sat 30-Nov-13 10:06:46

I dunno, it's "only" £15 a month over the year. That's not a huge amount I expect on your budget. Should have been more clear what the costs were, probably.

Blissx Sat 30-Nov-13 10:25:54

I'm confused. Your DS is in Year 10, so started his GCSE in September. You were told about the trip in October, with 5 months to pay for the trip. I'm assuming the trip isn't in February as you just say installments need to be in by then. So you have at least 6 months or more notice of the trip. Apart from telling you about it one month earlier, I'm not sure how much more notice they could have given. Did you want to be told about it in Year 9? Sorry if I have mis-understood.

Dumpylump Sat 30-Nov-13 10:35:03

Last year ds2 had a history trip with school, not compulsory, but he really wanted to go. Total £200 to be paid in 4 monthly instalments of £50.
Which would've been fine....except what actually happened was that three of the cheques I gave ds were kept and not banked - ds took home the receipts for them, so when I noticed on statements they hadn't been cashed, I phoned school. Which resulted in £150 being debited from my account in one go!
I am very fortunate that I was able to take that hit, but a lot of the parents at ds's school are probably not in that position. I pointed that out to teacher at time, and they have now amended the way they sort out trip payments, and the office staff do banking, so that this doesn't happen again.

AngiBolen Sat 30-Nov-13 14:27:50

Exactly lljkk it's opnly £15 a month over the year. But first installment had to be paid by 11th November, or thereabouts, which left familes unable to have budgeted for it that month.

The first installment was actuall £35, not £30, sorry. I have £110 left to pay, which will be £55 in January and £55 in Febuary. We can pay this withought harship, but not all families are as fortunate as us.

Yes, it would have been nice to know about the trip, in Y9. I'm pretty sure the school knew about it.

I think I may have become a bit of a bugeting freak. blush

Talkinpeace Sat 30-Nov-13 16:10:20

the school will cope with the money being a bit late ....

they start the payment schedules early to allow budgeting time

ours now has an online payment system so I slap all such things on the credit card and settle them at the end of the month

just make sure its fully paid up by a week before departure

TeenAndTween Sat 30-Nov-13 16:59:59

Our school has an (optional) MFL GCSE trip in Feb half term, costing alot (but cheaper than taking the whole family).
Fine, it's on the school website, so we have known it exists for a few years.

Only problems:
1) A year beforehand we had 2 weeks notice to sign up and provide £100 deposit. We had no idea we would be committing so early.
2) The sign up period finished 1 week before the GCSE options form had to be in. We insisted DD put in her options form before we signed up for the trip. No way were we paying for a trip if she wasn't going to do the language!

At least we're now forewarned for the other MFL trip next year, as DD is doing 2 languages!

RiversideMum Sun 01-Dec-13 10:00:06

As the trip is compulsory, the school will have a fund to cover costs for families in genuine difficulty.

NearTheWindmill Sun 01-Dec-13 15:17:23

Five months notice for £180. I don't think it's at all unreasonable. It is part of life - children are expensive and you have to budget for them. Can you get extra hours or can your DS get a Saturday job if things are especially tough?

Kez100 Sun 01-Dec-13 20:35:05

In our options booklet there was a section at the bottom of each course with extra costs involved and an estimate based on previous years. So we knew my daughter would have to go on a theatre trip with drama (circa £30) and son to London with History (circa £150). As it turns out nothing has been said about London, so I think it has probably been stopped because it's not so essential.

I don't think the timing is that bad but you should have had prior warning of some sort.

LynetteScavo Sun 01-Dec-13 20:47:32

children are expensive and you have to budget for them.

Yes, I've budgeted for for my children - but I was unaware of this trip, so it wasn't included in my budget!

As already said, we can pay for the trip without hardship, but not everybody is in the same situation as us.

hartsrules Sun 01-Dec-13 21:39:36

Our Y10 trip is only a day trip and so will be under £15. You do not have to do a residential for GCSE. A Level fieldtrips, 2 x 3 days come in at £280 in total.

longingforsomesleep Mon 02-Dec-13 11:18:25

That's a lot of money for a 'compulsory' trip. As said, up thread, if it's compulsory and you genuinely can't afford it you should contact the school and they may help you out.

My kids go to a selective school and the only compulsory trip they operate is in year 8 and it's one of the school's 'selling points' at open evenings so parents know about it well in advance. That only costs about £150, the school makes it well known that they will help parents in difficulties and it's not subject-related.

DS finished geography GCSE in the summer and the only trips he only went on were a couple of local one-day trips (but still managed to get an A* despite nothing more elaborate). He's doing A level geog now and, so far, no talk of expensive trips.

Really, state schools shouldn't arrange compulsory subject-related trips unless they are paid for from school funds.

NoComet Mon 02-Dec-13 11:24:59

Only one very local cheap trip for frog GCSE here. No £180 compulsory trips, I'd question very hard if this is really necessary.

Dearest, nearly compulsory, trip £45 to see a play for Drama, but we live a fair way from London so that sort of thing is always £££

Marmitelover55 Mon 02-Dec-13 15:58:50

My DD1 attends a comp and she has a compulsory trip to France at the end of year 7 which costs £250.00. I think we were told about this at the open evening before applying to the school , and there was a letter asking for the deposit within the welcome letter we received in may.

longingforsomesleep Mon 02-Dec-13 18:45:14

Marmite - I wonder why a trip to France should be compulsory. Do they all have to study French?

Marmitelover55 Mon 02-Dec-13 20:11:22

The school has a language specialism so they all study 2 languages (at least in years 7 & 8 - not sure after that). The trip happens during term time and is apparently part of the curriculum... it will bd interesting to see if all of the children do go.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 02-Dec-13 22:12:45

Yes, there will be other families who will struggle. Many of those families will not want to discuss the fine details of their family circumstances with the school. These families will then have to scrimp to afford to send DCs on these trips.

Chances are the trip does not need to be as big or as expensive. It is something the school has got into and has not reviewed.

My DCs have done History and the compulsory trip (examinable coursework) has been a £25/head day trip to some Roman ruins . In fact DD1 didnt go on the trip (it clashed with another exam) and still managed an A grade.

MillyMollyMama Mon 02-Dec-13 23:20:52

I am surprised at some of the negative attitude to school trips here. My DDs gained hugely from theirs. I will honestly say that we did not have to scrimp and save for the trips but I would have moved heaven and earth for them to go. Irrespective of the ultimate grade in the subject, school trips are about more than that. It is a great experience to go away with your friends. It is fun. You might learn something or have an experience you could not replicate at home. One of my daughters did a cookery class for a week in Italy and brought all the recipes home that she had hand written in Italian. They learned about Italian culture, did their shopping, cooking and sightseeing whilst staying in a fabulous Tuscan town. It was a wonderful experience.

I was also very grateful that the teachers were willing to put in so much time and effort into the trip making it a huge success. There were several other similarly brilliant ones, all organised by excellent teachers. If I was a teacher organising a trip I would be very downhearted at all the comments saying what I was doing was wrong. You do not have to go on a trip, but it is such a shame if it then does not go ahead and it is spoilt for others who do value it.

longingforsomesleep Mon 02-Dec-13 23:27:57

Milly - I'm not in the slightest bit anti school trips. I think they're fantastic. One of my sons went on a school rugby trip to LA and New Zealand and it was one of the best experiences of his life. What I'm anti is compulsory trips.

Marmite - that's interesting. Ours has a language specialism too - kids choose french or spanish in year 7 and also do mandarin. In year 8 they continue with their french or spanish but can swap mandarin for German. No compulsory trips but lots of short optional trips to relevant countries.

Marmitelover55 Tue 03-Dec-13 09:08:05

I too am very happy with school trips and feel we were given plenty of advance motive - a year in thx case of the French trip, and have been able to pay on instalments.

In Dd1's school they study French and Spanish in year 7 and then in year 8 they can swap one of these languages for either Russian, Latin of German. They can do Mandarin or Japanese too, but I think these are twilight classes.

Millymollyma - I love the sound of the Italian cooking trip!

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 03-Dec-13 12:51:30

I'm not in favour of compulsory (or quasi compulsory) residential school trips. In all honesty my DCs have got pretty much nothing from them. My DCs have traveled and also lived abroad so possibly a different situation

I dont think that schools shouldnt offer them just that parents shouldnt be guilted into them on the grounds that if you dont send your DCs then the trip wont run.

The trip should stand or fall on its own merits including content, affordability and value for money. Affordability and value for money arent just that there is a hardship fund for the parents on the breadline but also that all parents do have the right to decide how limited family funds are used. One child going on a school trip to France vs the whole family going to France albeit in a campsite may not be a good trade.

binger Tue 03-Dec-13 13:12:31

my nephew is going on a school trip next year and we were all asked to contribute birthdays and Christmas. initially I wasn't chuffed as I would rather he got an actual present but then when I thought about it I didn't mind. if it's the only way to afford for him to go just ask them.

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