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Secondary School - 'Donations'

(163 Posts)
smithyssister Wed 13-Mar-19 15:28:31

Have namechanged for this. DD is off to secondary school in September - a state school but an all girls grammar if that makes a difference.

We've received a welcome pack that asks us to contribute at least £15 a month, by standing order (!), to the school fund. In return we get a 'free' scientific calculator and dictionary. DD's friend is also going and her mum said to me this morning they'll be giving £50 a month shock Keeping up with the Jones' starts here..?!

WIBU to tell them it's not free if it costs me £180 a year?!

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Wed 13-Mar-19 15:30:18

We had a non vol donation fo £10 per year - and this was an affluent school . I appreciate the dynamics ahve changed and school funding is cut to the core, and parents are having to buy books and equipment - but £15 a month ? no way.

Hollowvictory Wed 13-Mar-19 15:30:45

Schools are in crisis. If you can aff it, do it. Why wouldn't you? £15 per month is probably less than you spend on wine or lattes. Don't be such a grump!

arethereanyleftatall Wed 13-Mar-19 15:39:55

I guess it's voluntary and confidential?

Tbh, if you can afford it, and if it's a great school, I would pay it.

JaneR0chester Wed 13-Mar-19 15:44:55

Our all girls grammar school asks for an annual voluntary donation of £250. We can afford it and we're happy to support the school and our kids' education. Schools are in a financial crisis.

I don't care if other families pay or what they pay, I just hope that if they can afford it, they will contribute something because the school desperately needs that income.

BlessTheRains Wed 13-Mar-19 15:46:29

Given how much schools are struggling at the moment, if you can afford it just pay it.

Boyskeepswinging Wed 13-Mar-19 15:48:11

You're lucky you got offered a calculator and dictionary!

This is a sad reflection on the funding crisis our schools are facing. The recent "School" series on BBC2 highlighted exactly the sort of choices schools are having to make at the moment - increase class sizes or sack teachers, decrease SN provision, decrease extra curriculars. It's all very depressing.

TeenTimesTwo Wed 13-Mar-19 15:48:29

I think this is privatisation via the back door.

it means that schools in affluent areas get funding not available to those in less affluent areas. Ultimately leading to the affluent areas getting better funded with better equipment and/or staff ratios.

It means schools don't have to make the hard decisions needed to stay in budget. It means that the affluent, vocal middle classes can turn a blind eye to education funding cuts so they are less likely to lobby for changes.

Some parents who can't afford it, may feel obliged to stretch themselves to do so. Especially if the school repeatedly asks, or all the 'payers' end up with a calculator that distinguishes them from 'non payers' in school. (cf FSM separation in the bad old days).

So in principle I think schools asking for this is wrong.
But conversely I can see why, if asked, individual parents do contribute.

aurorie11 Wed 13-Mar-19 15:48:48

Agree with the above, school budgets are beyond tight, if you can afford it, why not?

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Wed 13-Mar-19 15:49:39

I think this is privatisation via the back door.

This is what academies are

mrsm43s Wed 13-Mar-19 15:50:47

If you can afford it, then £15 a month is a bargain for full time schooling. It will help enrich your DCs education, and I would consider it money well spent (and personally would be voluntarily donating more). If you genuinely can't afford it, then pay what you can afford.

Boyskeepswinging Wed 13-Mar-19 15:51:11

So in principle I think schools asking for this is wrong
Of course it is. But where else is the shortfall in funding going to come from?

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Wed 13-Mar-19 15:51:31

Lets look at the wider picture here - whether a parent can afford it or not is irrelevant - this is what we pay our taxes for, and if parents subsidise schools then their budgets will be further slashed.

TeenTimesTwo Wed 13-Mar-19 15:51:56

Plain Academies are still state funded and free at point of use.
Our school is a convertor academy. It didn't change following conversion. It just manages its own budgets and makes its own choices.

tomhazard Wed 13-Mar-19 15:52:14

It's a real shame that it's come to this but I would make the donation if I could afford it.
In fact, I do make donations to my DDs state infant school as I know how hard they are working against difficult conditions.

It's going to benefit middle class schools and pupils though: pupils in poorer areas will not have parents who can afford this.

Comefromaway Wed 13-Mar-19 15:53:01

Well a scientific calculator costs about £12 and a dictionary not much more so I know which I'd be doing.

My family have made significant donations to ds's school (and they were quite flummoxed as to how to handle it) but it was from our own free will to fund a particular extra curricular area. Expecting monthly direct debits is purely designed to keep the undesirables out and is unacceptable.

GregoryPeckingDuck Wed 13-Mar-19 15:53:42

No it’s not free and it really shouldn’t be. You chose to have a child, it’s not unreasonable for the school to expect you to make a tiny contribution to the costs of educating said child.

TeenTimesTwo Wed 13-Mar-19 15:54:13

Plain I agree. If schools in general need more funding then taxes should rise to cover it. This is no longer about fundraising for a swimming pool. It is fundraising for pastoral support, or basic equipment.

NewModelArmyMayhem18 Wed 13-Mar-19 15:54:24

We were asked for donations when DS started (the extra money seemed to be targeted at the very bright sixth formers being able to study four(+) A Levels instead of the usual three). We dutifully paid £25 a month X 5 years but DS only ended up opting to do three A Levels, so we stopped for the sixth form years (no-one has badgered us to pay!). Via the PTA we have also actively helped the school raise loads of money by volunteering our time.

However, the school clearly needs the money and does massively rely on the extra funds to top up funding.

GregoryPeckingDuck Wed 13-Mar-19 15:55:24

@PlainSoeakingStraightTalking the government is running a defecit. We don’t pay enough tax for this.

MeredithGrey1 Wed 13-Mar-19 15:55:44

So in principle I think schools asking for this is wrong.
But conversely I can see why, if asked, individual parents do contribute.

Agree with every thing TeenTimesTwo said.
Part of me thinks that every parent in the country who is asked this should refuse, because perhaps that would force the government's hand more, and make them fund the schools properly. But obviously this is not actually a solution, as its the children who would suffer more before anything changed (if it ever would), and I wouldn't expect any parent to potentially sacrifice the quality of their child's education, just to make a point.

Comefromaway Wed 13-Mar-19 15:56:51

gregory you are talking bollocks.

Education is free in the UK. Anyone with chidlren will be contributing to their education in a myriad of other ways.

You obviosuly have no idea how the other half lives.

TeenTimesTwo Wed 13-Mar-19 15:56:52

Gregory No it’s not free and it really shouldn’t be. You chose to have a child, it’s not unreasonable for the school to expect you to make a tiny contribution to the costs of educating said child.

I couldn't disagree more. Free education to all regardless of income should be a basic offer of the state. People contribute to costs of this via their taxes. People with children are providing the future workers of the country, without whom there will be insufficient people paying into the system for your needs when older.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Wed 13-Mar-19 15:58:40

@teen - ours is also a converter acadeny - a large chain with a massively expensive board of trustees who top slice in order to pay their wages. Number of actual staff reduced from 160 to around 70, no MDS, TAs to the core, other support not replaced, 6th formers set out on play ground duty etc etc. Diabolical. Demands for money all the time.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Wed 13-Mar-19 16:01:39

Now I put my brain into gear , the schol used to get a lot of funding from having specialist status (no names) a very large enginering company used to throw in tens of thousands in support, refit DT workshiops, offer apprentice ships, foot the bill for prize giving, sports events and kits etc.

All thats done away with now. The sponsorship was done aawy with when the academy didnt give them a seat at the governors table. Also all the DT classes have stopped, apart from food tech.

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