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To ask if your state school asks for lots of money?

(65 Posts)
happynewmind Mon 21-Jan-13 16:27:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Darkesteyes Mon 21-Jan-13 21:59:37

We so need to contact the Oxford dictionary and let them know that the meaning of the word "voluntary has been redefined.
Voluntary contributions seems to mean exactly the opposite!
Ditto the "voluntary" work experience people on Jobseekers have to do (workfare) or their benefit will be stopped!

So voluntary obviously doesnt mean voluntary any more.

SminkoPinko Mon 21-Jan-13 22:09:14

God, I wouldn't pay for the swimming if it was crap ( and the school lessons my teens had in primary were dreadful!) and they were already doing private lessons. Have you tried saying no or is it too scary?

LizzieVereker Mon 21-Jan-13 22:13:44

Schools have to say "voluntary contribution" on letters for trips, because by law they cannot exclude children on the basis of poverty; but the threshold for this is usual pupils entitled to Pupil Premium or FSM, not just those on a low income.
But if enough parents do not pay trips cannot go ahead. Schools are not allowed to make a profit on trips.

School fund is different, this is or should be voluntary but is used to fund things which otherwise could not be funded by the LEA or PTA. Sometimes it can be used to pay for a child on a low income (not one who gets FSM) to go on a trip, it's always worth asking if the school can help you meet the cost if you are in genuine need.

I'm bit surprised that people are concerned at being charged for breakfast club, lunch or music lessons; why would people think these should be free?

On the other hand, I do sympathise with people about finding all the money, none of us want our child to the only one who can't go on a trip, and sometimes schools do have a laissez faire attitude to things like costumes.

cece Mon 21-Jan-13 22:16:19

"If a school wishes to charge for school trips, a clear and written policy should be agreed with governors and made available to parents in advance."

Have you asked to see the school'spolicy on this? It should clearly state what happens when I child/parent cannot pay. Also the maximum amount that can be asked for.

TBH all the schools I have worked in have a fund to pay for children who are unable to pay. Certainly no child would be excluded because of it. shock

cece Mon 21-Jan-13 22:18:45


MushroomSoup Mon 21-Jan-13 22:23:41

What is a mufti day?

DIddled Mon 21-Jan-13 22:29:18

I pay voluntary monthly contribution of £15 but I didn't feel under any pressure to do so (son at very selective high performing grammar in affluent area, we are well out of catchment so not at all poshsmile ) . They have the odd trip and raffle tickets etc but not too excessive. I have bus fares to pay and have switched to packed lunches at Ds request- take too long to be servedin the canteen.The school lunches are outsourced and overpriced anyway- over £2.00 for a baguette with ready made sandwich filling- I can make that for 75p!!!
School trip to France was £500 but we paid in instalments.

The one thing I take exception to is the ridiculous items he has cooked in Food Tech involving beef strips/ Full pack of chicken breasts/ kaffir lime leaves- costs a flipping fortune and generally ends up in the bin....

Pom- I'm utterly disgusted at the schools treatment of your DS.....

wonkylegs Mon 21-Jan-13 22:41:51

We seem to have a never-ending stream of letters and quite a few requests for 'voluntary contributions'
DS is in reception and has so far paid out for 3 trips in the Autumn term which totalled about £25, we are on our 1st trip this term for another £8, £5 a term for the art fund, 2 mufti days so far, £5 for somebody to come in and teach them about their current topic, another £5 for a puppet show. £6.50 for some sport thing.
And then there's all the PTA fundraising stuff. I don't object to the educational trips (although not thrilled that as an adult volunteer if I were to go on the next trip this term I would have to pay for myself as well) but some of the things we are asked to pay for are a bit dubious and the sheer number is ridiculous and hard to justify especially since I was made redundant in Nov, and I'm not the only parent in this situation.

Porkster Mon 21-Jan-13 22:48:34

I didn't include all the food tech ingredients.

We pay £10 per year for basics (like flour, sugar etc), but tomorrow he is going in with chicken breast (free range, long story), fresh coriander, spring onions, sugar snaps, garlic and kaffir lime leaves! It's probably about £5 per week.

Ragwort Mon 21-Jan-13 22:58:16

No - when DS was at primary school there was perhaps one trip per year (£8 ish) and a residential trip to which about half the year went so no 'awkwardness' between those who went & those who didn't, those who stayed behind had a fun week of activities.

No more than 2 'non-uniform' days p.a. for charity which I don't mind at all.

I refuse to pay for school meals as I feel the standard is awful so no problem to send in a packed lunch (significantly cheaper as well).

Now at secondary school & we were asked for a one-off payment of £10 for the year (voluntary) - which after being on the PTA since playschool days & know how hard the endless fund-raising is I was more than happy to contribute grin. Again, the very occasional £1 for non-uniform.

So no, very few demands here smile.

Morloth Mon 21-Jan-13 23:04:10

Ours does, but we are in Oz where things are different.

We get an invoice at the start of the year with all of the planned expenses, they are of course 'voluntary' but as I want DS to be able to do all the things and to cover the cost for any kids whose parents can't afford to pay I just pull out the credit card. They are quite up front about how if enough people who can pay for trips etc, that will subsidise the people who can't.

I work out that it costs about $1,000 a year, DS1 does get to do all of the bits and bobs though, and I am happy to pay.

They appear to use the money well and DS is getting a good education.

Still a hell of a lot cheaper than the 9,000 pounds a year I paid for private school in London!

Darkesteyes Mon 21-Jan-13 23:31:59

Pom- I'm utterly disgusted at the schools treatment of your DS.....

Agreed. It was disgusting.

happynewmind Tue 22-Jan-13 07:56:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

impty Tue 22-Jan-13 11:44:31

Schools seem to vary in their attitudes to getting parents to pay.
A school trip was advertised to parents as coming in under the £50 mark. Lots of pupils put their name down for it. Actual cost comes in at £75. Teacher shrugs and has the reply that "it is what it is."

It's this attitude I find unbelievable. The school in question has some affluent parents but they aren't the majority, I don't think. Makes me very angry

elliejjtiny Tue 22-Jan-13 13:16:32

My DC's school is in a deprived area so we don't get asked for much. This term I've just had to provide £11 per child per week for school dinners and £5 per week for DS1 to go to breakfast club (DS2 not allowed to go because of his SN so i take him in later). I think this is very reasonable though as DS1 will have eaten honey and waffles for breakfast and roast pork, roast potatoes, veg and a pudding for lunch. I do begrudge the £40 a week in bus fares to get them to school and back but I can't blame the school for that.

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