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to think if the letter says a voluntary contribution of £x then you don't HAVE to pay

(199 Posts)
PMDD Mon 20-Jan-14 17:53:45

I have 3 children at the same primary school. Since coming back to school in January the school have asked me for a VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION of £14 for DD, £7.50 for DS1 and £5.00 for DS2 (school trips linked to their term topic). They have also asked for £1 for each child for 'arts week' and they have asked for £1 for each child for this Friday's mufti, which is followed by the school valentine disco of £2.50 per child.

That is £40!!!!

Other than mufti and the school disco, which they children don't have to do (although they will be very left out if they come in school uniform), the payment is voluntary. So would I be unreasonable to say that I will give them £5 per child for all the school activities.

I would like to add that my DS1 (year 6) and DS2 (year 4) are both going on school trips in May which cost £350 and £280 respectively, which I am paying £50 a month for since Sept last year!

BabyDubsEverywhere Mon 20-Jan-14 18:19:14

I don't understand why you think your DC should be able to partake if you aren't willing to pay?
We have this so often at our school that trips rarely even get off the ground now. So many parents refuse to pay because its 'voluntary' and the trip cant go ahead. Why cant they just withdraw their DC so those that will pay can go?
This will turn nasty though, it will now end with everyone rolling in saying some parents never eat and they live in a cardboard box and its not their 5 childrens fault and they should have the same as everyone else - well, yes in an ideal world, but I am frankly sick of my dc missing out so quite selfishly no, if you cant pay you cant go. grrr!

WooWooOwl Mon 20-Jan-14 18:19:58

They cannot exclude a child because they can't pay. Not for whole class/curriculum based trips.

No, they can't. But they can cancel the trip altogether. Or the OP could do the right thing and withdraw her own children if she doesn't pay.

rollonthesummer Mon 20-Jan-14 18:21:01

Sometimes the cost of a day trip is factored in with the knowledge that X% of parents wont be able or willing to pay.

No, it isn't.

Iamavapernow Mon 20-Jan-14 18:21:30

The school should be arranging things within budget. If you can't afford it that's that.

vestandknickers Mon 20-Jan-14 18:22:59

Everything WooWooOwl said.

Schools try very hard to provide additional activities to support your child's learning but they can only do so if parents contribute to the cost. If everyone had your selfish attitude then these trips simply wouldn't happen.

If you genuinely can't afford to pay the whole amount, then give the school what you can afford.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 20-Jan-14 18:23:22

If you genuinely can't pay, then you're right, it is voluntary. But, by choosing that option, you are effectively asking someone else to pay for your trip or for the trip to be canceled for everyone. only you know what's fair.
For my part, I will gladly pay for someone who can't afford it, and anonymously. But, I know of people who can afford it who don't - could argue that's stealing.

fluffyraggies Mon 20-Jan-14 18:26:36

It was in our school roll. There was always the expectation that not all children's parents would pay up. For whatever reason.

The only reason children were ever left out of a trip was because the parent had not given permission for them to go.

CaterpillarCara Mon 20-Jan-14 18:29:16

Fluffy - they are not allowed to cross-subsidise in that way. But they are allowed to gently suggest you round up which is what our school does. Most do if they can, so if a trip is say £7.50, they might pay £10 if possible. I would think they'd be hoping they were helping someone who genuinely couldn't pay not who just didn't feel like it. OP will know which she is.

Wantsunshine Mon 20-Jan-14 18:29:59

I really don't think they have asked you for much of a contribution when it is for your three children going on trips. It has been the same for the past forty years that you pay for your child to go on trips so it's not as if you didn't expect it as a cost of having children.

WooWooOwl Mon 20-Jan-14 18:30:32

They aren't allowed to charge extra to cover costs for non paying parents fluffy. They might have chosen to use pupil premium money to subsidise the trip, or it might have come from the school budget or the PTA, but it would not have been covered by other parents contribution to the trip.

Floggingmolly Mon 20-Jan-14 18:32:14

It is voluntary. You can't be forced to pay. But then, they don't have to take your child on the trip. In fact, if enough people refuse to pay on the grounds that they don't have to; the trip will very likely be cancelled.

CrohnicallySick Mon 20-Jan-14 18:32:18

Fluffy- legally the school cannot build in a contingency. The total of the contributions asked for cannot exceed the cost of the trip else if everyone by some miracle did pay, the school would profit. And that is not allowed.

Yorkie- you said the school were chasing for payment and form. Without signed permission (ie the form), the child cannot go. Hence the comment about not wanting the child to miss out.

Floggingmolly Mon 20-Jan-14 18:32:44

Just pay it .

EmmelineGoulden Mon 20-Jan-14 18:34:11

OP YANBU. If you agree that the trips are enriching and worthwhile then pay what you can. But the contributions are volunatry and delivering the curriculum within budget is at the heart of the leadership and headteacher's responsibility.

Also, if your friend's children are in receipt of free school meals, the school is not allowed to exclude them from residential trips in school time. They are legally required to fund the trip from their budget. She needs to speak to the headteacher again, perhaps pointing them towards this:

CrohnicallySick Mon 20-Jan-14 18:35:40

If you really can't afford to pay out all in one go, prioritise. Which event happens soonest? Pay that off first. Or send in a £5 deposit for each, to be followed with the balance after payday (even if that is after the trip has happened).

Remember, if you don't pay the school has to find the money from somewhere, so the more parents don't pay the fewer books, resources, etc can be purchased by the school.

WhiskyTangoFoxtrot Mon 20-Jan-14 18:36:11

You need to pay if you possibly can.

If not enough people pay, the whole trip will be cancelled.

Perhaps, if things are really tight at the moment, you could agree a payment plan to spread the cost?

fluffyraggies Mon 20-Jan-14 18:36:45

That must be what happened then. I'm fully prepared accept that smile

I just know that we never had a situation where a child was left out of a trip because of non-payment. The money must have come from somewhere, of course.

There is a big difference between not paying on principal and not paying because you simply haven't the money.

Viviennemary Mon 20-Jan-14 18:38:53

I found out that some relatively well off parents chose not to pay. We were all furious. Somebody who could very well afford to pay just laughed and said she never paid as it was voluntary. Infuriating!

fluffyraggies Mon 20-Jan-14 18:40:17

Personally i couldn't afford to ever send my kids on the big residential trips OP. Which run into the hundreds of £.

I was happier paying out for the curriculum related day trips throughout the year.

lilyaldrin Mon 20-Jan-14 18:40:52

If you can't afford it, don't pay.

The school need to make the curriculum accessible for all children.

ivykaty44 Mon 20-Jan-14 18:43:31

My dad when in junior school had the chance of an activity holiday and I told her she would need to choose, that one big trip for £110 and no other trips all year or the smaller trips

Dd choose the big trip

So she refused other trips and went on the big trip

That meant all other trips were refused as we can't afford everything dd accepted this gracefully

The school were not happy about it...

I think school have to accept that January is a tough money month and should take this on board when organising trips

gallicgirl Mon 20-Jan-14 18:45:51

Are these trips voluntary enrichment or necessary for the school to meet its obligations under the national curriculum?

If it's the latter, I wouldn't be too chuffed about paying.

macdoodle Mon 20-Jan-14 18:47:46

I never went on any school trips, my parents couldn't afford it . They didn't wine about it, neither did I. I have turned out ok,went to uni and have a good job. I actually think a lot of people think we live in a communist country, there is no incentive to work hard and earn well to provide for your family.
< dons fireproof suit >

WhiskyTangoFoxtrot Mon 20-Jan-14 18:49:57

If it's a curriculum trip, then the school isn't permitted to ask for contributions.

If an optional trip, then they can. But a school that cannot make up a shortfall in contributions may have to cancel, and will probably scale back on optional trips in future.

Even if you cannot afford to pay the full cost, a part payment (possibly in instalments) would help keep both current and future trips viable.

FourAndDone Mon 20-Jan-14 18:52:36

If you can't afford it then you can't afford it. However if you can scrape it together then I would pay, otherwise you run the risk of the trips been cancelled because they don't have enough contributions.

For what it's worth we're a family on minimum wage, 4 children and up till now have never not paid for a trip and hope not to in the future.
I would rather miss out on a treat for myself that month.
But each to their own.

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