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when did state education stop being free? eh?????

(138 Posts)
Clary Sat 29-Sep-12 01:13:02

DD has come home with a request for a voluntary contribution to school - for her art exercise book.

Yes it's only 50p, but I really really resent the idea of paying for her blimming exercise books.

We send her to school in uniform, with pens, pencils, calculator and PE kit; is it really too much to suppose the school will provide her with the paper to do her art work?

I said in a bit of a temper "well art is bobbins expecially at that school" (DS1 has had a difficult time of it with a very negative teacher) and DD rather upset said if she didn't take the money she wouldn't get the exercise book (so much for voluntary then!).

DH agreed with me and started going on about the thin end of an enormous wedge. School is an academy (as so many are) so is this the way it is going to go? This week 50p for an exercise book, next week £10 or we won't teach your child music?


AgentZigzag Sat 29-Sep-12 01:25:36

You would think, at the very least, they'd give them something to draw on.

Exercise books are pretty essential if you're off to school, should they be using slates or something, keep the costs down?

Can you see where their money is going?

Or rather, what's their money going on that they're having to beg 50ps for exercise books?

Inneedofbrandy Sat 29-Sep-12 01:31:57

It's the principle of the matter. I would think about refusing to pay and complaining. It might only be 50p but it's a slippery slope.

lovebunny Sat 29-Sep-12 01:33:56

i heard our local academies give out free school uniform

Mrsjay Sat 29-Sep-12 01:34:06

today I paid 40 quid for a hospitality/cookery class be grateful you had only 50p to pay It isn't right is it

Extrospektiv Sat 29-Sep-12 02:06:53

exercise books for any subject pre-16 shouldn't be chargeable, yanbu

missingmumxox Sat 29-Sep-12 02:27:11

oddly had this convo today at work, one of my co-workers who I know earns half what I do had to buy her DD's art supplies!! a special box set of oils, water colours, crayons, pencils at 11, cost £40 odd and whilst if you child is doing art as a GCSE it might be worth the cost, at 11! she then during the convesation got 2 e-mails from the school, one asking for £30 school fund donation and one saying if your child is doing German or French in order to support their studies we recommend you purchase the following software, she did a quick quote on the recommended softwear and it was £60 pounds for all, I read the e-mail and it was heavily hinting her child would be seriously disadvantaged by not using them, as the teaching would assume knowledge of certain!
I told her to write a e-mail back stating she would pay the School Fund money on the agreement they would look at getting the softwear and licences for the library! as they only good for a year for her daughter, next year more expense...

echt Sat 29-Sep-12 07:40:48

Clary it's a request. Don't respond.

noblegiraffe Sat 29-Sep-12 07:47:10

Voluntary contribution has to mean voluntary contribution. But is it really worth it over 50p?

A lot of schools are massively skint these days due to Tory budget cuts. Even academies.

exoticfruits Sat 29-Sep-12 07:48:46

Schools just don't have the money.

BenandBolly Sat 29-Sep-12 07:52:23


I could understand if you were being asked to pay for software as missingmum said but it's 50p!

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 29-Sep-12 07:53:32

50p for an exercise book isn't much though.

So far this year I have paid £7 voluntary contribution for food tech, £10 for DT,bought watercolor pencils and oil pastels for Art and £22 for science GCSE revision books.
I always wonder WHY I have to do this?

Maria2007loveshersleep Sat 29-Sep-12 07:57:55

YANBU. It's the principle of the thing rather than the actual amount which is not much.

exoticfruits Sat 29-Sep-12 07:58:06

If 50p is the difference between having the correct materials or not, I would just send it in. For decades schools have been short of basics. Years ago the PTA used to fundraiser for the extras, like swimming pools, that is a distant memory and now they fundraiser for basics, like reading books.
If you don't want to pay voluntary contributions I would join the PTA and fund raise for art materials. Schools can only work within budgets - clearly it doesn't stretch to art books.

exoticfruits Sat 29-Sep-12 07:58:48

If you saw the budget,tantrums, you would know why!

cozietoesie Sat 29-Sep-12 08:02:10

It's the overwhelming difference between the cost of materials and the cost of staff. (The latter is largely fixed so when savings have to be made, they're made on 'stuff'.)

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 29-Sep-12 08:04:32

I'm always having to pay for food tech for DS, other things too. I have always written it off as the downside of being a parent though.

RubyStolenBootyGates Sat 29-Sep-12 08:05:07

When I were a lass (back in the deep mists of time) we spent some of our lunchtimes whitewashing sheets of newspaper so we had paper for art lessons. So budgets for art have been an issue for some time.

It does sound a bit odd though.

BrianButterfield Sat 29-Sep-12 08:05:26

Budgets are so tight. I teach English and we're seriously facing a photocopy ban this year as we just can't afford to pay for it. Maybe art has only got a budget of £1000 or so and £500 on exercise books leaves them too short to do anything else. Yes, it shouldn't be this way but school ate definitely not making a profit on it. (Btw our exercise books work out at 30p each so 50p sounds right for a sketchbook).

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 29-Sep-12 08:07:51

Back in the olden days when I did GCSE art, DP's had to shell out quite a bit for various bits and bobs. A large folder, sketch books, acrylics, oils, oil pastels and a case to carry them all in etc.

Tuttutitlookslikerain Sat 29-Sep-12 08:08:15

I had to pay for both of my children's art sketch book when they went to secondary school, and that was under the Labour government!

I know the schools need the money, that's why I've paid all the voluntary contributions. The Art supplies, well, ok they need them for homework and it's obviously not practical to supply a set for every Art student but they were very expensive. But I guess it was my choice to buy them. It wasn't compulsory.
The GCSE revision books upset me a bit though.
They were told they had to have these books to revise for their first exam in January.
What if you can't afford them? They weren't exactly cheap. What if you honestly didn't have the money and your dc was telling you "oh mr x said I'll fail my exam if we dont buy them"

But, on the whole I do understand that the contributions help the school do activities like cooking and DT, sometimes I'm just surprised at the end of the year when I add it all up.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 29-Sep-12 08:10:16

Yabu. Money that they spend on exercise books could go on other things like school trips.

AmberLeaf Sat 29-Sep-12 08:13:22

It can be expensive when you have more than one child at the school.

Some schools are worse for this than others though.

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