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To compalin to school about costs of dressing up days?

(108 Posts)
NaughtyBetty Tue 05-Mar-13 16:51:50

DD is in year 3 and so far this year they have had 6 dressing up days, that's 1 a month & if the children don't dress up they need to go in in school uniform. It's not always as simple as cutting up a sheet or buying bits from a charity shop, it usually works out as about £10 a 'dress up'.

We are really struggling financially and DD gets FSM, final straw was today when she is expected to pay £12 for a school trip.

I wonder what they have done with their pupil premium for FSM children? AIBU to complain, it's just getting really expensive!

WilsonFrickett Tue 05-Mar-13 18:02:45

YANBU and you should complain. There is a family at my school with 4 DCs in the school, so imagine how much it's costing them! Although I wouldn't be spending £10 a pop either, face paint and ordinary clothes for me.

MammaMedusa Tue 05-Mar-13 18:06:40

I'd hope a family of four would do some sharing between them not buy a new costume each time!

Seriously though, if it is that you can't get out of spending £10 a time and there are 6+ a year you should definitely complain.

But if you could get by with a bit of poetic licence / creative thinking, then maybe try that first. That said, my children's school has a lot of dressing up days (including teachers). They are lovely and well-enjoyed BUT it is well known that they have a stash of costumes for those that need them - takes the pressure off.

Darkesteyes Tue 05-Mar-13 18:06:58

I thought the whole point of school uniform was so that all pupils are treated equally regardless of family income.
How the fuck does a day in a seclusion unit fit with that remit.
Punishing a child because the parent cant afford it. Disgusting. Dont have children myself but if i did and this happened i would be making an appointment with the Head and making my feelings clear. Not having children myself im gobsmacked this goes on in schools in 2013!

MammaMedusa Tue 05-Mar-13 18:10:11

Oh yes, the seclusion unit bit is absolutely outrageous.

I am happy to support my children's school in having lots of days because I know they also have plenty of spares for children whose parents can't afford it, don't care, don't remember, etc.

They also hugely praise the cheapest / most subtle efforts. DD gets lots of remarks on her themed ribbons!

chanie44 Tue 05-Mar-13 18:19:20

I agree with the previous poster who said you should adapt what you already have.

My sister is crap at stuff like costumes so she leaves it up to me, normally telling me at 7pm the night before. I've always managed.

I normally go online for some ideas and raid the house for supplies. And old bed sheet became a toga and a mans brown tshirt with a belt around the middle became a Celtic tunic.

My children aren't at school yet so I have all of this to come but I think that oversized tshirts and pashminas are easily adapted for most events.

SnotMeReally Tue 05-Mar-13 18:24:59

No donation to charity is compulsary - your children do not HAVE to take part and the enforced "fines" and "seclusion" for non-participants is outrageous - take this to the governors on the grounds it is disriminating against those who are struggling financially or those who just dont want to support a particular charity for whatever reason

However NO ONE has to pay £££ for any of this, and parents who do are the ones to blame for the feelings of one upmanship and not wanting to be the only one in a make-do home made affair. At our school we have children whsoe parents never bother and the kids have become immune to feeling left out (though I did feel sad for them when they were younger) and we also have the twits who rent or buy a costume every time. In between are the vast majority who make do with whatever they have at home or can borrow or buy for pennies

I have had 3 kids, one is now Y8 (dress up days still happen about once a term)2 still at primary - I dont think I've spent £10 in total on all the dress up days they have ever had between them!

If your kids are nagging you and wanting to be like their friends then you simply have to explain the situation - tell tham what else the money could go towards eg bought costumes vs smaller birthday party or christmas present. children need to learn they cant always have everything they want or be the same as everyone else, the sooner they learn the less they will nag about other things they "need" because their friends have them!

sarahtigh Tue 05-Mar-13 18:26:58

home clothes in nearest colour and head dress mask made of cornflake box, if questioned tell teacher re money

I could afford to buy the outfits but I won't I do not believe in buying stuff that is only going to be used once, I just think it is not eco friendly it is OK going on and on about recycling but how about not wasting stuff in the first place

world book day thursday, red nose day 8 days later easter bonnets on 26th that is 3 in a month

ok wear red for red nose day is ok as DD has plenty of red, she has a straw hat which we will enhance with flowers but I am still deciding about book day, I'm pretty going with pretty dress and cardboard crown/ wand

EmmelineGoulden Tue 05-Mar-13 18:27:08

NaughtyBetty The school is getting a pupil premium of £600 a year for your daughter on top of their normal funding. You should request that they cover the costs of these extras (including the school trip), your daughter should not be excluded from taking part because you can't afford it, and you should not be having increasing difficulty at home because you are trying to meet school costs. State school education is free to the recipient, requests for donations from parents are allowed, but if you can't afford it the school are obliged to provide for her appropriately.

willesden Tue 05-Mar-13 18:35:07

Join your local Freecycle group and ask for dressing up clothes. Loads of us give away victorian costumes etc we no longer need. I have/do. No-one I know spends £10 on each outfit. BTW the charge for school trips is never for the 'education' element of the trip - that is free because it is in school time. The charge is for the transport, which is very expensive. If you want to know how your school spends it's Pupil Premium, ask! School are in the public domain and their Budget Accounts are there to be viewed by anyone who asks.

soverylucky Tue 05-Mar-13 18:51:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hissy Tue 05-Mar-13 19:08:24

We've had the same, a trip to Windsor, dress up as a king/queen day, world book day (where a specific theme has been stipulated) and then we'll have Red Nose Day.

I bought a costume, thinking that it could be re-used in world Book day, only AFTER the king/queen day (which we had a weeks notice of) did they blow that plan of mine out of the water.

I wrote to the school about it, asked that they allow the proper spirit of world book day and do the favourite character thing, as it's easier and inspires greater creativity.

HT sent email to say <theme> or home clothes. They want £4 too! I said I have to draw the line somewhere. I'll send in money for red nose day, but I can't afford anything else.

I'm going to write to the governors actually, because this is ridiculous.

Itsnotahoover Tue 05-Mar-13 19:10:45

YANBU. Since returning to school after half term, we've had two bloody dress up days, 2 trips to pay for, a cake sale and football club to pay or at £15 til Easter! Dress up days were pirate themed and favourite character from a Roald Dahl book (because I just have one of those lying around!), plus £1 to pay for the privilege of having to buy new clothes (£12 in total as couldn't beg borrow or steal from anyone). Trips were £6 and £2, cake sale cost me £2 for cakes plus £1 for him to buy a cake for himself, so a total of £40 spent so far this half term!!

TomArchersSausage Tue 05-Mar-13 19:12:12

I sense the rumble of parental revolt re dress up days. There have been a few threads recently with people (me included) voicing their exasperation.

What schools have failed to prove is that any of this is actually achieving anything. Is it actually part of the curriculum? They seem obsessed with itconfused I wonder whether it's all just a lot of snow to look like they're actually doing a lot, when in actually they're not.

My dc even groan nowadays after years of it; they're fed up with it too.

And yes, blimey it costs alrighthmm. You can only adapt so much. You can only cut up so many sheets. Sooner or later - and it's usually sooner - you're scouring Ebay and traipsing to the nearest fancy dress shop. Even buying from a charity shop isn't peanuts.

Not only that, but the dressing up days invariably coincide with wanting even more money to be brought in for collections for things. I'm more than cheesed off over it too.

Itsnotahoover Tue 05-Mar-13 19:13:08

Oops forgot the non-uniform day last Friday as well! Make that £41 angry

I am reluctant to cut up sheets too, we don't have space to keep bedding we don't use, once it's old it goes out to the rag bank. When the DCs dress up at home they improvise very well out of adult clothes, sheets that haven't been cut up etc, but they don't do anything as specific as Romans, Victorians or book characters.

I have not heard a single positive comment about World Book Day from other parents in real life, only grumbles.

Nanny0gg Tue 05-Mar-13 19:43:47

Speaking as a staff member as well as parent, I hated them too. I am not creative; I haven't the faintest idea what you cut up a sheet into, and I can't do face paint.
Then having to find a costume for me that I didn't feel a complete plank in made the whole thing a sodding nightmare. I hate fancy dress.

So YANBU and the damn things should be banned.

NaughtyBetty Tue 05-Mar-13 19:53:42

I'm going to call the school tomorrow. If DD was getting a lot out of it I may have been more hesitant but from what I can see the kids don't even enjoy it, it's expensive and stressful for parents and has no educational benefit.

Once or twice a year is fine!

moodymai Tue 05-Mar-13 19:57:07

I've got 3 kids in school and it is ridculous. We;ve had dress up as a pirate, International dress up day (1 as a Brazilian carnival person, 1 as British Kings and Queens and one as Mardi Gras), for World book day they have to wear black or brown clothes and for Red Nose Day it's Wacky Hair and a red top. So I have to be out of the door at 7.30am on Friday with 4 children, 3 of whom should have wacky hair. lol

NaughtyBetty Tue 05-Mar-13 19:58:59

At the infant school DD went to they had a few a year but it was much more low key, usually you could just come in specific colours or mufti if you prefered.

Ilovesunflowers Tue 05-Mar-13 20:14:28

It sounds like you are going a bit OTT with the costumes. For Roman theme a sheet would have done. You could have made a flower head piece for less than £1. Vicrorian black skirt, plain t shirt and t towel for a cloth cap.

Not sure about the animal but maybe just some cheap face paints or black clothes with white paper stripes for a zebra.

None of these options would cost anywhere near a tenner. Sounds like a lot of dressing up days though and I can understand parents getting pissed off when it's too often.

sarahtigh Tue 05-Mar-13 20:24:05


but all these cost money if you do not have them, spare sheet £2 oxfam, black shirt no-one in the house owns one , DD likes pretty clothes outside nursery so we do not have black leggings brown legging brown t shirts ,and I refuse point blank to buy stuff for her that will only be worn once ( I would make an exception to rule for something special like family wedding) as it will be too small in less than a year

though come to school in pretty clothes would be easy, but even from ebay/ chairy shoes these outfits cost £2-3 and add postage for ebay and its a fiver

face paints do not cost nothing neither does wacky spray hair colour

cardboard to make a mask or hat with normal paints is fine, the odd mufti day cost £1 is ok or wear red/blue ie popular colour not yellow/orange/purple /spotty

for us we are fortunate £5 is not a problem but it is a huge problem for many families when these things crop up monthly

Ilovesunflowers Tue 05-Mar-13 20:29:57

You can take the sheet from a bed - it doesn't need to be cut. Free.

As for black skirt most school uniforms are black or grey skirts so use them. Free.

I didn't say facepaints cost nothing - but they'd be cheaper than £10 the OP was quoting for costumes. Plus with facepaints you could use them again for different dress up days.

Ilovesunflowers Tue 05-Mar-13 20:31:02

I've also just remembered I recently saw animal masks in Asda for about £1. There were 4 in the pack so 25p each. Frog, tiger and another 2. Can't remember what the other animals were.

SavoyCabbage Tue 05-Mar-13 20:34:34

Six dressing up days so far! That's madness I think. We have probably two a year. Last year we had dress in your house colours for olympic day and one free dress day to raise money for our 'plan' child in Malaysia.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 05-Mar-13 20:40:19

BTW the charge for school trips is never for the 'education' element of the trip - that is free because it is in school time. The charge is for the transport, which is very expensive.

It doesn't matter what the charge is for it cannot legally be anything other than a voluntary donation - all state schooling is free to the recipient. If it is a part of the school curriculum it is free, to all children. Schools cannot legally require anyone, whether or not they attract a pupil premium, to pay for a part of the school day. Not for a school trip, not for swimming lessons, not for cooking ingredients, not for dressing up.

I'm happy to donate, we can easily afford it, it won't impact on our family life. But it is a gift to the school. Our taxes pay for state education and schools are legally obliged to provide that education to all their pupils within the budget they can legally raise. They may not charge parents a penny.

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