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to be increasingly hacked off with the price of school trips?

(22 Posts)
TheLogLady Wed 17-Nov-10 18:33:56

recently discussed was a £600 watersports trip. way out of our league. never going to happen.

now DD wants to do an IT trip. just a day - an hour away.

20 pupils only. Lunch provided the other end.

£22 each

1. £440 for the hire of a coach for one day shock yes i know insurance, driver etc etc

2. Why do they need a 70 seater coach for 20 pupils? Why not take 17 pupils and the school mini bus?

3. Why do they need to leave school at 7am to get an hour away by 9.30? That doesn't add up.

So would it be unreasonable to question the school about the cost and planning?

Desiderata Wed 17-Nov-10 18:36:56

£440 for coach hire is extremely reasonable, actually.

I've never seen a 70 seater coach. They're normally 49, but I agree with the rest of it.

Have a word with the school. It does seem a bit dull.

TheLogLady Wed 17-Nov-10 18:42:40

OK. not 70 then but why a 40+ seat coach for 20?

i might give them a ring tomorrow.

dolcegusto Wed 17-Nov-10 18:46:17

It wouldn't be much cheaper to hire a 20 seater, difference in fuel costs is minimal and drivers get paid the same no matter what size vehicle they drive.

ANTagony Wed 17-Nov-10 18:48:35

If its anything like in my local area a coach is easier than the minibus. Taking the minibus means you need two qualified minibus drivers (its a separate county safety test) so you're down to 15 seats plus qualified staff in addition to relevant subject staff.

You need to be able to offer the trip to the whole group hence the minibus for 20 is inadequate.

You need to state at least half an hour before you intend to leave because people are really bad at turning up on time (always) so 7 am means 7.30am depart. Rush hour makes a one hour journey 1.5 hours and then there are the inevitable toilet trips and getting off the coach at the other end which an extra half an hour is allowed for.

440/20 = £22 per child? Plus £5?/ head for food and drink - sounds like the school are already subsidising this trip especially with the extra staff ratios required for off site activities.

So many schools have cut back on these trips, teachers have to get in earlier, work later, set work for other classes they're not at. The school have to provide cover staff at a cost for other lessons. The parents complain about having to bring their kids in earlier and pick them up as they get back after school buses.

Its a shame that off site activities are dying off but I get why teachers are finding it just to much effort when all people can do is complain.

All that being said if money is really tight schools usually have a bit of budget held back to cover those in real need and a quiet word (phone call/ note) with the relevant teacher would no doubt let you know what options are available.

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 17-Nov-10 18:50:06

If the minibus cant hold enough for everyone then a coach is the next option. Given that you say the coach is £440 then no charge is being made for lunch and no entry/activity fee either so a good deal.

If you dont like the price then dont send your child but moaning about costs just makes the teachers put on less trips for fears of parents complaining.

onceamai Wed 17-Nov-10 18:55:53

How much do you think you could do it for if you took him? I imagine it would cost more than 22.00 and you would be giving up your time as well.

TheLogLady Wed 17-Nov-10 18:59:24

still think it's daft and seriously expensive.

but a small consolation to those who can't do the fancy fun £600 trips.

scurryfunge Wed 17-Nov-10 19:01:03

If we are playing school trip top trumps, then my DS's school offers a ski trip for £1300!

TheLogLady Wed 17-Nov-10 19:03:12

would cost about a fiver for me to drive there but that's not the point. (lunch provided by (free) event the other end)

I know coaches, insurance, driver etc cost. i'm also sure if it were planned better it could cost less.

and is phoning the school to ask about the cost complaining? if nobody mentions they struggle even with £22 how are they ever going o plan trips which dont exclude pupils who can't afford even that?

Niceguy2 Wed 17-Nov-10 19:04:56


If you can't afford it, don't send him. Simple as. I'd like to send my kids to a fancy private school but I can't afford it so I don't.

My DD floated the idea of a £600 school hol next year.....never gonna happen so she's not going. Good luck to those who can.

But I won't question school as though they are out to rip me off or moan because my personal circumstances mean I cannot afford something, someone else can.

ANTagony Wed 17-Nov-10 19:12:07

It depends how you phrase your questions. Parents can be very confrontational and aggressive.

Teachers have to fill in a ridiculous amount of paperwork to arrange a trip, then do all the letters home, permission slips, special needs forms and medical assessments, risk assessments etc etc. The school management would no doubt find life easier if they didn't bother so the best thanks they can expect is minimal complaints and a sense that they have broadened the kids experience and enthusiasm.

If you need to enquire about your own financial needs do just that. If you wish to raise an issue about the cost of school trips in general don't misdirect it on the proactive teacher who has no doubt already gone to considerable efforts to organise this trip.

A letter to the school about your general concern regarding policy on trips and their pricing would be more appropriate.

trixie123 Wed 17-Nov-10 19:19:13

good post ANTagony. OP do all also bear in mind that certainly in one school I worked in, any supply teachers that were needed to cover at a cost of £140 a day each had to be paid for by the trip so you have to factor that in too. The time issue is also 100% true. They may get there early but it is highly unlikely and make very little difference to the cost. School minibus may be already booked also.

TheLogLady Wed 17-Nov-10 19:26:02

i wasn't planning to march in wearing my overall and brandishing my rolling pin.
just a bit humph about it i suppose.

ANTagony Wed 17-Nov-10 19:41:16

I get where you're coming from its just teachers can be sensitive soles, they've not necessarily ever lived outside of the school system in the real world of hard knocks - IYSWIM.

So many appear frustrated at the ludicrous admin and antagonism involved in trips that they're almost working to rule and we're seeing after school clubs like sports, art and craft that used to be so readily available and free no longer an option. My DH is a teacher and used to love doing lots of extra curricular stuff for the kids both academic and sport. Some parents made his life so awkward about wanting to change times and locations and when there was a cost dodging it so we ended up out of pocket. Now he does one or two trips a year rather than weekly stuff for free. Even the trips he does do he is aware any problems and its his career on the line for putting his name down as the organiser.

The extra staff thing is crazy too. When I was at school it used to be parent volunteers to make up numbers now everyone has to be CRB checked and qualified as well as ideally having first aiders available. We even had trips out where half a dozen parents would drive and the whole class could go in cars so the cost was negligible. I hope that part of the big society addresses this issue. One of the few things that has been announced so far is to try and get rid of some of the ridiculous bureaucracy around health and safety which should mean that sanity can prevail and teachers can ask a parent to be the extra cover on a trip and maybe a combination of the school minibus and a car could even cut that £440 coach bill to a fraction. In the meantime we just have to make sure our frustration at the situation doesn't get directed at the few active teachers still working beyond 'to rule'.

CharityShopping Wed 17-Nov-10 19:57:34

£600 shock. I don't even pay that much per person for a holiday.

We're lucky as DD's school has quite a deprived catchment, the school know not to bother organising expensive trips because the majority of the families are on free school meals and can't afford it.

The few trips we do have get subsidised due to extra funding and parents only have to pay max £40 if they get free school meals.

For a day trip, they always get free tube/bus travel so coaches aren't needed.

cloelia Wed 17-Nov-10 19:57:49

scurryfunge, I trump you: three weeks in Africa, £2000. Seriously.

scurryfunge Wed 17-Nov-10 20:08:14

cloelia, my goodness - I'd want to bring back a lion for that grin

Giggle78 Wed 17-Nov-10 20:09:34

Hi there,

I agree. I always feel bad about the cost of the trips that I organise at school as they really do seem to be getting more and more expensive.

However - just so you know we are absoloutely not allowed to overcharge on trips. The price you pay is how much it costs.

Often we are using money from our department budget to subsidise it a bit.

Once upon a time I was really up for organising trips but they really are a headache. Be grateful to any teacher who has taken the time to sort it out. They really will be doing it because they want your son/daughter to have a great experience/learn in a different way.

Plus often it is the trips that people remember long after they leave school - they create wonderful memories.

MentalFloss Wed 17-Nov-10 20:11:58

I can beat you all - 4 weeks in Venezuela £3800...

scurryfunge Wed 17-Nov-10 20:13:51

MentalFloss shock

BendyBob Wed 17-Nov-10 20:20:14

Surely the way things are now economically for so many families schools are going to have to join the rest of us in the real world and reign these absurdly £ trips in. Stop revving up expectation amonst the children. It's completely crazyhmm

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