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To think first come first served is bullshit

(112 Posts)
Pantone363 Thu 03-Dec-15 09:48:17

and is actually just "which parents can come up with the spare cash the quickest?"

Music lessons at school, £70, first come first served.


Dawndonnaagain Thu 03-Dec-15 09:50:11

It's usually first to fill in the forms, most schools will make provision for later payments.

AlpacaLypse Thu 03-Dec-15 09:52:07

The best way to do stuff that has limited numbers and may be oversubscribed is to ask everyone to express an interest, and then draw names from a hat if it is oversubscribed. And keep drawing the names until the end to make a waiting list for the possible drop outs. That way busy families who don't always make it every day on the school run etc have as fair a chance as anyone else.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Thu 03-Dec-15 09:54:46

At DS's school its first to get signed forms in, no payment is asked for until your child's place has been confirmed.

Takes 10 seconds to sign a form a put in their school bag.

Spidertracker Thu 03-Dec-15 09:56:53

I have to say, that I think first come first served is fairer than that magical hat that seems to spit out the same names everytime.

Pantone363 Thu 03-Dec-15 10:01:04

Payment must be made with the letter.

KeepOnMoving1 Thu 03-Dec-15 10:02:19

yanbu, a compromise should be a deposit with the letter.
But basing it on full payment immediately isnt fair to those who cant pay all at once.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Thu 03-Dec-15 10:02:40

That's true actually Spider. DS has never had his name picked out of a hat, despite many things being selected that way.

Enjolrass Thu 03-Dec-15 10:04:08

Our school sends a letter at the beginning of the year detailing which activities will be coming up and which need to be paid for and the month it will be open.

Nearer the time they give the consent form and ask for payment and its first come first served.

But everyone knows what's coming, so you don't have to the money at the drop of a hat.

Enjolrass Thu 03-Dec-15 10:04:55

And yes I hate the pick the names out of a hat thing.

It's not really fair either.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Thu 03-Dec-15 10:05:21

Is it Primary or Secondary school? Can you phone the school and arrange to pay a small deposit? They can't discriminate against less well off families.

tbtc20 Thu 03-Dec-15 10:22:20

Of course picking names from a hat is fair. It's random.
What other method would make it more fair?

cdtaylornats Thu 03-Dec-15 10:26:26

Or they could just run aptitude tests and see who was likely to benefit

tbtc20 Thu 03-Dec-15 10:28:10

cdtaylor Are you joking?

MidniteScribbler Thu 03-Dec-15 10:29:49

The very few things we have that are limited are never first in/best dressed as it's not fair on those who have to work, or those on limited income who may need time to save. The only ones we limit is our one afternoon a fortnight mixed grade sport activity we do, and students put their names down for. The oversubscribed ones are usually things like ice-skating, water park, ropes course, rock climbing etc which are held off site and limited due to bus capacities, and since they come around a couple of times per year (you change every term), everyone will get at least several turns over their time at the school. If you got a certain option last year then someone who didn't get a chance will get their turn this time. We spend hours sorting it out trying to be fair, and have all these spreadsheets of who has had a go at which one. Add in trying to keep friendship groups together and it's pretty much a nightmare lol! We also have a pool of funds that we use so every student, regardless of their parent's finances will have a chance at the more popular activities during their time at the school. But, there's always someone not happy, no matter how hard we try. By the way, being fair extends to the staff as well, because the above mentioned options are generally the most popular with staff!

For all other activities we try and avoid limiting numbers, we usually just keep adding teams until everyone who wants to play a certain sport gets a place.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Thu 03-Dec-15 10:30:46

tbtc - random is not the same as fair.

If child X is randomly picked out for everything and child Y never gets chosen - is that fair?

Spidertracker Thu 03-Dec-15 10:31:30

I wish that were true, and if the draw was in public it probably would be. Sadly having worked in schools I have been in the office when 'the draw' is made - it's not always what you are envisioning.
I'm not saying 'it's always the PTA's children' that get picked but I have certainly seen more challenging children ruled out.

choccyp1g Thu 03-Dec-15 10:37:31

Ask to see the school's equality policy. Where I am a governor, we spend a lot of time ensuring that access to extra-curricular clubs and activities is fair for everyone. Deadline for applications, then out of a hat and waiting list, (and waiting list get priority next term) unless there are good reasons otherwise.

howabout Thu 03-Dec-15 10:41:51


For music lessons our school (normal state primary) uses express an interest and do the general musicality aptitude test. They go down the scores till all places are filled. There are some issues with this.

Firstly the aptitude test is not very fair as I firmly believe musicality can be taught and developed. I taught my DDs piano from age 7 and so of course they came top of the test and had first choice of instrument. However the flipside of this was that they had already demonstrated the necessary commitment level and are excelling with their school instruments.

The drop out rate is very high and I think the school could be doing more to reallocate places given up.

Not all instruments are offered in the same year and you only get one choice so if you have a specific instrument in mind you have to apply carefully.

I don't however think organised parents with plenty of cash on hand or lucky dip should be the determining factors. Actually most of the wealthier parents locally opt out of school lessons in favour of private tuition.

Pootles2010 Thu 03-Dec-15 10:52:48

Actually they did aptitude tests when I was at school for music lessons, it worked well. We just tapped out the rhythmn of a song, as i recall?

mouldycheesefan Thu 03-Dec-15 10:55:18

My friends who are teachers confirm that when they 'pick names out of a hat' they are actually just selecting the children based on their behaviour particularly where off site activities are involved and they don't want to take badly behaved children. There is no hat random element to it.

mouldycheesefan Thu 03-Dec-15 11:01:16

But that seems entirely reasonable if you are talking about a ski trip or something you don't want to take the ones that are difficult

tbtc20 Thu 03-Dec-15 11:01:40

I stand by my claim that random is fair.

From the OED : treating people equally without favouritism or discrimination.

Just because the outcome might not seem fair, the methodology is.

Spider what you are describing is obviously not a random pick out of a hat, so doesn't count.

I think there are ways to make it fairer overall e.g. each child may only learn one instrument.

mouldycheesefan Thu 03-Dec-15 11:05:20

RandOM is fair but random draws from a hat don't really happen the teacher just chooses the children. But that is also fair as teachers cannot be expected to take poorly behaved children away.

tbtc20 Thu 03-Dec-15 11:10:28

mouldy that's awful. So the kids with possibly difficult home lives, who may well benefit hugely from off-site activities are excluded. Wow. I guess if teachers are giving up their time voluntarily then it's absolutely up to them (or is it? Is there some contractual obligation of inclusion even outside of contracted hours???) who they take, but it could at least be made clear. this common?

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