Teachers - how often do you spend your own money, on buying things for school?

(66 Posts)
InternationalPower Wed 21-Aug-13 17:07:41

I am bursar at a state primary and have been shocked seeing posts on here suggesting that it is the norm for you to spend your own money on things for school. E.g something to support a child who is not being properly provided for at school, on rewards for your class or educational materials.

Is this really that common? Where I work there is money set aside in the budget specifically for these things. I would be horrified to think our staff were buying them from their own money.

GW297 Sun 01-Sep-13 16:58:46

Newname - I can't think of anything particularly exciting I've purchased over the summer for my new class - sorry!

I would love to know how much money schools save through teachers and TAs buying stuff out of their own pocket each year. Charity shops must benefit greatly from this though. I always label my stuff - one so I remember it's mine and 2 so parents know I've personally resourced half the classroom!

Glad to know there are many teachers who spend their own money on school stuff out there!

I've been teaching 12 years (primary) and have been in 5 different schools. Only one of those had sufficient resources (inner city, lots of extra money). We have the ridiculous situation of running out of whiteboard pens (because we use them almost every lesson) and then we're told that there is no budget for new ones until the new school year. So you either have half the class writing on scrap paper with a pencil (which you can't see, and totally defeats the object of whiteboard work) or you give up and buy some yourself. If you dare to ask in the office about some more you get asked sarcastically if the children are eating them.

I'm part time at the moment and money is tight so I'm trying hard not to spend too much on school stuff. Bought a new digital camera though so I could keep the old one at school as the class camera is a) crap and b) takes AA rechargeable batteries which run out in minutes.

I would really like it if the OP could talk to her teachers once term starts, then report back to us on whether her school really does fully cover all the class expenditure.

Today I bought 6 packs of blu-tac because someone has lifted the blob from my room.
A retiring colleague gave me her stash of plastic crates.
I laminated 2 displays-worth of materials using my own laminator and pouches.
I asked where I could find some whiteboard pens and was laughed at, so I've ordered some on my own credit card.

... and I've been told that the camera (was shared between 3 classes) is going to another year group, so if we want to take class pics we're to use our own cameras but get a separate memory card "for safe guarding reasons". No budget to buy one, so I guess that's another Amazon visit.

Auntfini Fri 30-Aug-13 23:32:36

Hm yes I will have to factor that in too...

NewNameforNewTerm Fri 30-Aug-13 22:39:57

Whoops - should say fact that she has so much control not face. blush

NewNameforNewTerm Fri 30-Aug-13 22:38:00

Oh, and Auntfini, make sure you factor in the cost of lots of dry wipe pens. Luckily our whiteboards were provided and we get a box of 100 dry wipe pens each year (for a year group of 90). But the pens have all run out or dried up by soon after Christmas, so I buy more (for my class only). They are pretty pricy and I have discovered the cheaper ones are a false economy as they dry up quicker.

NewNameforNewTerm Fri 30-Aug-13 22:35:19

I'm amazed at Fairyliz's statement
"I have worked as a Finance Officer/Business Manager for 14 years and always ensure that we have a budget for these items".
Our whole school budgets just do not allow for this sort of expenditure for every teacher. And the face that she has so much control over the school's budget. All the primary heads I know (and I know more than a dozen) keep a far tighter control over the budget and what expenditure is allowed. Can I come and work at your school please?

Auntfini Fri 30-Aug-13 20:07:02

Ok after that list I'm definitely getting the whiteboards!

Springcleanish Fri 30-Aug-13 20:03:28

Just in the last 12 months:

2 essential class text books for exam classes I teach
Subscription to educational magazine and resources for students and me.
Borders for display board
School shoes, socks and trousers for a student in need
4 exam texts on DVD
50 recordable DVD and plastic cases for coursework
Book of raffle tickets
Six sets of colouring pencils
20 glue sticks
50 biros
50 pencils
Countless ink for printer at home.

I hate to think of the cost over 15 years, this was a particularly "cheap" year.
It's just so hard to get anything you need through school, even if it is for the kids/ learning.

Auntfini Fri 30-Aug-13 19:55:13

I want to buy a set of mini whiteboards as my dept doesn't have the money and I really want to use them in the classroom. It's about £50 for a set though which seems a lot.

Hulababy Fri 30-Aug-13 19:54:47

I have never worked in a school where all the extras were paid for my school. It's always by classroom staff, even more so in primary ime.

Hulababy Fri 30-Aug-13 19:53:21

I'm a TA these days (was a teacher) and I spend plenty of my own cash on school stuff. I also take in a lot of stuff from home - and anything DD has finished with has been in too - books, craft sets, some toys, etc. IME it is the norm. Dh often jokes that his firm sponsors my classes, albeit anonymously!

stargirl1701 Fri 30-Aug-13 19:50:29

Probably about £500 a year. Primary.

Phoebe47 Fri 30-Aug-13 19:49:25

I'm with you soapboxqueen. I'm always buying things for my class and my husband once made a fab wooden book box for my classroom - 4 compartments, painted red and varnished and with characters from our top favourite books on each side - the bear from We're Going on a Bear Hunt, the train from the The Train Ride, the mouth and the sandwich from The Sandwich that Max Made and the boy and the foliage from Walking Through the Jungle. All this from stuff he had in the shed! The Head admired the box but never questioned where I got it from and she knew my budget had been spent that year on new tables and chairs for my classroom! I must have bought thousands of stickers over the years and lots more small things such as extra glitter and card at Christmas and Easter and most of the ingredients for cooking, glue sticks when we ran out of them (about half way through the year) and the runny stuff was no use at all in my class of children with severe learning difficulties. All my colleagues were doing the same. And people say we are overpaid!

ihearsounds Fri 30-Aug-13 12:42:46

Its not just teachers that provides things. I am a ta and have taken lots of things over the years. The school like us to run various clubs, but dont want to really provide anything for them, so a few of us ta's have supplied items.
We have one school camera, that is never available, so I have one in my locker simply for school plus of course memory card. Plus of course memory sticks because the it system isnt that great and you can only retrieve work on pc you did it on.

Printing and laminating at home for the clubs. Providing snacks and drinks for the clubs. . the list is endless.

BatmanLovesAllan Fri 30-Aug-13 12:26:22

Another TES defector here - the new site is just awful sad

I spend a couple of hundred quid a year on books, stickers, display items, cooking ingredients and so on. Sometimes I claim, but the system is so protracted, and there's such little money anyway, that I often don't bother. It drives my DH mad, and I can understand why.

petalpower Fri 30-Aug-13 07:29:52

I agree NewName, I don't bother with TES anymore, the new format is just impossible to navigate.
I dread to think how much I spend on school resources (primary teacher) each year. I always buy my own books for class reading, resource books, pay for web subscriptions etc. Then there's all the little incidentals (all those trips to Wilkos!) for stationery bits, cooking ingredients, DT consumables. There's just no budget in school, my class budget is minimal and if I don't buy things then the children miss out.

NewNameforNewTerm Thu 29-Aug-13 23:16:07

grin GW297. Have you bought anything good ready for next week? The new stuff thread on TES is useless this year (but then I hate the new TES so I rarely go there any more!)
I found a set of instructions on Pinterest on how to make situpons (small round slightly padded cushions for sitting on outside, made from plastic tablecloths), so I'm hoping to make 30 before next week!

GW297 Thu 29-Aug-13 22:09:54

Newname - you sound just like me!

ITCouldBeWorse Thu 29-Aug-13 09:29:52

All the time. And not just teaching staff. Support staff too on much lower wages. Some staff give so much.

NewNameforNewTerm Thu 29-Aug-13 09:27:38

Our school has class budgets and subject budgets; all of which get used up in weeks. So yes, it is standard for teachers to buy stuff for their classroom and the children. A regular topic of conversation when we go back in September is the goodies we found/bought over the summer. I went to Ikea last week .... £££!
I buy :
Teachers resource books (photocopiable and lesson ideas)
Subscriptions to specific websites for resources
Fancy pencils, gel pens, highlighters, shaped post-its, stickers
Storage boxes, table tidies
All my own desk organisation (paper in-trays, magazine boxes, Ikea wooden small drawer unit)
Art / craft resources
Ingredients for cooking demos
Class treats
Cushions
Each year I buy a multi pack of girls and boys knickers, hair scrunchies and a full PE & swimming kits (when cheap on sale)
Anything I see relating to specific topics I'm covering (just bought a small pirate ship and a dress-up pirate costume)
I also have my own Mary, Joseph, 8 angels, 3 Kings, 6 shepherds, 3 sheep, donkey, 2 camels and numerous bits of nativity costumes that I've made over the years - our school doesn't ask for much when it is Christmas play time, just basics to go under costumes organised by teachers. Each summer I set myself a challenge of making a couple of new bits of costume from material I found or bought over the year. This year it was 2 more shepherds and a new King's cloak.

My OH always rolls his eyes, but my thoughts are if it either a) makes it better for the children or b) makes my life easier I'll do it. My time is short and having these things to hand and a super-organised classroom makes me feel better. I know we shouldn't have to, but the school budget is tight.

GW297 Wed 28-Aug-13 23:27:23

I buy children cakes at a cake sale who haven't brought any money for one.

DIddled Wed 28-Aug-13 22:29:15

Crannog - that has made me fill up! My sis is a Higher Level TA at a school in a very deprived area. We never throw any clothes or child related stuff away- she takes it in and dishes it out to parents who are struggling. Last year she heard about a local Fire station giving out presents for underprivileged kids and she queued for hours to get some for children who would have had little or nothing. She really does care- and I know there are many like her. Good for them.

Crannog Wed 28-Aug-13 22:16:09

I'm not a teacher just a parent who helps out in class. The teacher buys little gifts for the kids at the end of the year as well as mountains of stationery etc. I was in one day when there was a cake sale to raise funds for a class trip. 7 children hadn't been given any money so she bought something for every one of them. I had a proper lump in my throat.

So I wanted to say thank you to all the teachers who care like this.

Jaynebxl Wed 28-Aug-13 22:03:46

We are only allowed to buy stuff from a small selection of approved catalogues and bizarrely these catalogues are lacking so many of the things teachers end up spending their own money on! Not least cookery ingredients, nice mats, nice role play stuff and any teacher books you might need for your own research. Did anyone see that pic that went round Facebook recently and said "Teaching, the only job where people steal things from home to take to work" accompanied by pics of various items of stationery.

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