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to not pay full whack for this school trip?

(145 Posts)
LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 14:52:14

DCs' school has arranged an educational visit for KS2, priced at £12 per child with a suggested limit of £3 per child spending money. We have two dc in KS2, if we pay full price and give them £1 - £3 spending money it will come in at £26 - £30 (I know spending money isn't essential but I would feel a bit shit if my dc were watching everyone else pick something iut in the shop but had nothing for themselves). We have had loads to pay out in the last few weeks and quite frankly money is tight at the moment.

The form does state that it's a voluntary contribution but if 80% of the full cost isn't raised then the trip would be cancelled. We have always paid in full for every trip but AIBU to think we need to cut our cloth at the moment and pay a reduced contribution?

I ask this because I found out when dc3 was going in a trip last year that not all parents pay the full cost (part of the payment for a trip fell out of the envelope into her bag, I took it in the next day and the TA said "Oh we didn't like to say some money was missing because some parents choose not to pay the full amount".

This might sound wrong but the school has a tiny proportion of children on FSM and a large number of professional parents. It's got me thinking whether we've effectively been subsiding other parents who choose not to pay 100%, and whether I'm being tight for considering it this time when we have had a financially hard month?

Floggingmolly Wed 02-Oct-13 17:49:47

Bit cheeky to pay 80% of the trip cost and give them money for the gift shop...

LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 17:52:01

Where have I said I'm going to do that? Or do you mean other parents?

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Wed 02-Oct-13 17:55:01

Yanbu. If the money is going to come from your food budget then I agree you should not pay on this occasion. Schools need to realise that many people are living on very restrictive budgets at the moment and it is literally a matter of going without food in order to pay for unbudgeted requests for money.

WorraLiberty Wed 02-Oct-13 17:57:59

I took it in the next day and the TA said "Oh we didn't like to say some money was missing because some parents choose not to pay the full amount".

Hmm...but surely you would have written how much money was enclosed in the envelope.

Every permission slip I've ever seen has 'amount enclosed'.

bearleftmonkeyright Wed 02-Oct-13 18:09:20

I am on the pta and I feel often I am the lone voice saying, actually some parents may not be able to afford x. Posters saying the OP is being tight are being a bit nasty. Why post this unless you are finding this a moral dilemma? When you're washing machine has packed in , the kids need new shoes, you need to go to the dentist etc etc, a school trip can push you over the edge and maybe you have to just take a step back and think well, does this matter? Do I support the school in other ways? Because maybe at this point in time I just can't pay. And next time there is a school event, I will support, pay, buy raffle tickets or make a cake.

Lilacroses Wed 02-Oct-13 18:09:39

I don't see anything wrong with only paying some of the amount if you are struggling with money. I would not mind at ALL "subsidising" other parents if they couldn't afford a trip. I am very lucky to have a pt time job (DP a full time one) and we only have one Dd so we're not rich but we have everything we need. Obviously I wouldn't be impressed if people just claimed not to be able to afford a trip when they really could but I'd hate to think of someone worrying about not being able to send their Dc(s) on a trip because of this.

Mind you.....some of the trips people describe on here are SO expensive! I'm amazed that anyone can afford them!

BlackeyedSusan Wed 02-Oct-13 18:20:38

if you can't afford it you can't afford it. it is called a voluntary payment, as it is voluntary. pay as much as you can... however, if you are spending lots on other luxuries/non essentials then yabvu.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 02-Oct-13 18:26:59

If you are struggling with money then the right thing to do is ask to pay it over a longer amount of time. It is not right to just decide you can't pay at all and then still let your child go on the trip.

Lilacroses Wed 02-Oct-13 18:34:04

Good idea BrokenSunglasses. That is an option offered at my Dd's school.

OldRoan Wed 02-Oct-13 18:43:44

I know someone who was asked to pay £10 for her DD's school trip - it was pay or don't go, and she was the only child who hadn't paid.

Friend stumped up the cash and under 'medical issues to be aware of' put "DD may be dizzy and lightheaded as she will not have eaten all week due to my food budget going on this trip."

Point made, voluntary contributions/payment over time was in place shortly afterwards. I agree if you can pay you should - I'm sure school will welcome payment in instalments.

pixiepotter Wed 02-Oct-13 18:49:01

The only way to not send your DC on the trip is to keep them off school for the day and even then that doesn't help because the transport costs are usually the major expense and they don't save anything by having one or two fewer students

FuckyNell Wed 02-Oct-13 18:53:34

Nice post bear

TheBuskersDog Wed 02-Oct-13 18:59:01

The only way to not send your DC on the trip is to keep them off school for the day

No it isn't, you don't sign the consent form, you take your child into school and they are sent to another class.

asandwichshort Wed 02-Oct-13 19:04:30

In my experience school does not have a bottomless pit of "top up" money for subsidising trips for people who quite frankly just can't be arsed to pay!! I spend my time trying to find ways of topping up the school fund with things like book fairs and getting subsidised tickets from the local football club who give a donation for selling them to parents etc etc I sign up for money back offers etc etc to keep the thing afloat! School trips are arranged by working out the transport costs and admission charges and dividing by the number of children going. therefore through simple maths a trip costing £100 for transport and £100 for admission would cost 40 kids £5 Each. If you don't pay your £5 I have to dip into my small amount of hard earned money to top it up and therefore have £5 less to spend for example on things like Christmas presents for the kids or Leavers presents for the Y6 kids or tooth fairy envelopes!!!which we are not allowed to taken from the actual school budget. So everyone who doesn't pay is actually depriving other children - and perhaps their own - from benefitting from other nice things down the line! In my experience parents who are extremely hard up are the ones who come to me and explain the situation and ask if they can pay in instalments -

AugustRose Wed 02-Oct-13 19:19:20

I have to agree with you LazyGaga, my two girls (6 and 11) were both attending the same small primary school until DD1 went to secondary this year. The village is quite affluent and they do not take into account those (like us) who do not have much money. Because it is a small school they often have whole school trips/swimming etc instead of one or two year groups at a time, and there are at least 6 trips per year. Added to that they have a residential every year for years 4/5/6 costing over £200 each and they are expected to go - when I said my DD1 wasn't going on one of them the headteacher became quite abrupt insisting what a good experience it would be and she really should be going! I did have to pay for another of the residentials in instalments because I just didn't have the money to pay it in one go.

Other than the residentials the forms always say voluntary but really they expect you do pay. They also have numerous school discos, BBQs, fundraising events throughout the year which I try and contribute to but cannot always affort it.

SoupDragon Wed 02-Oct-13 19:22:34

Plenty of school trips at DDs school were cancelled last year because parents didn't pay. Most would have been able to.

SoupDragon Wed 02-Oct-13 19:25:42

Other than the residentials the forms always say voluntary but really they expect you do pay.

It's not that they expect you to pay, they need you (or the majority) to pay, unfortunately.

fairy1303 Wed 02-Oct-13 19:42:51

I don't think you are being tight. Trip are so expensive and things are tight at the moment. We are struggling at the moment to cover our mortgage because I'm on MAT leave. DSD has come home with three letters about trips. One is a 4 day residential at £195. She's 8.

If I had the balls to not pay it I would. If I wasn't so proud I would have the discussion about paying less.

Ultimately I don't want her to miss out, so we are having to cut back even more.

MammaTJ Wed 02-Oct-13 19:51:08

I have done this once, when money was really tight! I usually pay the full amount!

I am not on the PTA because I have other commitments that don't allow it, but I do go to meetings in the hope of meeting LDC woman and help out at events. They realise that people struggle and try to subsidise trips where they can. There was a year one and year three trip in the same week last year, the same years as my DCs were in. The year 2 trip came last and it was reaslised that this would be hard for a few parents, so they subsidised that one quite heavily.


HappyMummyOfOne Wed 02-Oct-13 20:10:35

YABVU, if you dont want to pay in instalments then dont send your children. Its certainly wrong to give them spending money yet quite happily take money from the school budget to cover your shortfall.

Other parents dont pay the shortfall, they are not allowed to charge more that the actual cost per child. If another parents overpays then thats different.

As a PTA we certainly wouldnt fund the difference or full place for a non paying parent.

I agree with the poster that said those that really struggle are the ones that always pay but may ask to split over a few weeks.

LazyGaga Wed 02-Oct-13 20:18:47

WorraLiberty yes I always write the amount on the envelope along with name and class. In this case it was £9.00 - I put a fiver and four pound coins in, the pound coins came out of the envelope into dc's bag. Maybe the TA assumed I'd had second thoughts about how much I could afford to pay but hadn't amended the envelope? I don't know! The consent forms always say "I enclose £[stated cost of trip]", there's not a blank space to insert an amount of your choosing.

Thank you for your understanding bearleft and other posters. I do think perhaps schools in affluent areas with affluent families attending sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture, that actually not everyone is comfortably off in the current economic climate. I was talking to one school mum a while back who was also in the same boat - we were a bit shock at being asked to contribute £5.00 per child for something PTFA related within school, I forget what. This meant £15 for me. This mum said her friend's dc attended school in a more deprived area of town, they were doing something similar but the cost to the parent per child per child was £1.00.

asandwichshort I appreciate what you're saying but when there are people worrying about paying bills and the cost of food then tooth fairy envelopes from school rank pretty low on the list of priorities.

Tabby1963 Wed 02-Oct-13 20:37:15

I arrange school trips at my school and can assure you that we make NO profit whatsoever, in fact, the school subsidises the trips through our Fundraising Committee.

For example if I cost a trip at 7.58 per pupil (costs divided by the number of pupils in class), we will charge £5 per pupil, sometimes less if we have enough in the kitty. For trips that cost even more (zoo visit for example can cost £13-14) we peg the cost to pupils at £6 or £7 max.

All pupils are expected to pay.

clam Wed 02-Oct-13 20:51:29

There's no such thing as a free lunch. Or trip in this case. Someone will be paying for you somewhere along the line. The poster who mentioned extra-curricular groups doing trips for half the price, is probably benefitting from subsidies from a parent company. e.g. cub/scouts. Coaches cost a huge amount, and entrance fees are entrance fees, whatever the organisation.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 02-Oct-13 20:52:25

Schools in more deprived areas have access to a lot more pupil premium money and they can afford to run these trips without asking the parents for much.

Schools in slightly more affluent areas don't have access to that type of funding without asking the parents. Even when it is funded by the PTA, it's parents that put the money in.

If schools don't ask and parents don't pay, children don't get to have varied and enjoyable learning experiences during their time at school. It's that simple. I'd much rather schools do whatever they can to give our children as rich an education as possible than just stopped bothering because a few parents complain at the expectation they pay for their own children.

clam Wed 02-Oct-13 20:53:41

"This mum said her friend's dc attended school in a more deprived area of town, they were doing something similar but the cost to the parent per child per child was £1.00."

The event would have cost the same, but maybe their PTA subbed it, meaning they wouldn't be paying for something else, e.g. playground equipment/computers/whatever.

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