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To not want to pay the school’s voluntary contribution

(188 Posts)
Millie2016 Wed 11-Sep-19 12:12:40

This is light hearted because I will pay it, but AIBU to think the school asking for a voluntary contribution of £40 a year is a bit cheeky?
Last year my child attended 3 hours a day at the nursery and we were asked to pay it. It is an electronic payment against the child’s name so they know who has made it.
I reasoned it helped the school, improved resources etc.
Every week in the newsletter they published how much had been donated and how ‘short’ the fund was i.e. how many parents had not paid.
The thing is, with last years experience under my belt I now know that the school constantly asks for money/stuff. Weekly! Dress down days, PTA cake sales and even £5 to buy a piece of my daughter’s art work.... the list was endless and relentless.
So I’m left wondering, does every school do this? Am I just being a bit tight or are they taking the P?

Armi Wed 11-Sep-19 12:17:12

I’m not sure what you’re suggesting? That a state school is attempting to rake in some sort of profit from asking for parental contributions for books etc? The extras you mention are extras, the voluntary contribution is, I imagine, for equipment. Schools are skint.

OddBoots Wed 11-Sep-19 12:18:20

I know you have said this is lighthearted but I do think it is very wrong of schools to be funded in this way, it means schools with families with disposable income have better funding than schools with families without.

Cornishmum00 Wed 11-Sep-19 12:19:20

Ours have non uniform etc but never been asked for a contribution at start of year like that

LolaSmiles Wed 11-Sep-19 12:21:05

It's wrong for schools to have to plug gaps this way, but maybe if every parent wrote to their MP or then spoke out about the reality of cuts then there'd be pressure politically to fund schools properly.

As it stands the general public hear snappy headlines lying about pay rises and increased funding but not enough to close the gap from years of cits, and then bash staff for complaining about inadequate funding.

kitk Wed 11-Sep-19 12:21:07

Go to and input your school to see how much their funding has reduced. Then make the call on whether they're cheeky or desperate. A lot of what they're asking for is optional but your child only gets one education so if you can afford to support the school then I'd be inclined to do so

Raphael34 Wed 11-Sep-19 12:21:17

The schools obviously desperate for money (like most are), and you can’t blame them for trying. My dd1’s school ask for £40 a year, my dd2’s school ask for £10. The money raised goes directly to the school and pupils. As far as I know everyone pays it. In the last 2 years alone the school have repaired the leaky roof, built a new security fence, built a roof over the reception playground so the yr1’s can go out in all weathers and painted the inside of the school. It’s unfair that the school doesn’t get funding for this and have to resort to begging the parents. If you’re struggling then I wouldn’t pay the £40 and save the money for dress down days etc, which you can’t get off from paying without your dc feeling left out. Saying that, I do find the £5 for artwork a bit cheeky, though I have been charged for artwork once myself by dd’s school

Millie2016 Wed 11-Sep-19 12:21:40

The correspondence states it’s to provide for a range of extra curricular activities that they choose to provide in school time. Think along the lines of contracting an external kids yoga instructor, for example.

Nonmerci Wed 11-Sep-19 12:27:23

So if you have multiple children you’ll be expected to dish out £80, £120 or even £160? After just forking our for uniform? No thank you.

Millie2016 Wed 11-Sep-19 12:28:49

@nonmerci they say it’s a family contribution so I guess you choose your favourite and pay it against their name.

KTD27 Wed 11-Sep-19 12:31:40

Our voluntary contribution is nearly 1500. I’m shock at it.

AuntieStella Wed 11-Sep-19 12:33:27

'Twas ever thus - when I was in school in the 60s and 70s they used to ask for a voluntary contribution

But right from the founding of state education in the 1940s, there have been rules about how it can be done. It must be purely voluntary, pupils cannot be treated differently based on whether their parents chose to donate, and parents should not be badgered. So asking once, and reminding once is probably OK. More than that might not be

Yubaba Wed 11-Sep-19 12:37:36

My ds primary have lost nearly £250,000 and dd’s high school have lost £1.1m over the last 4 years.
As yet neither school have asked for money but I can imagine they will soon.
I’m a governor at the primary school and last year we had to make 2 teachers redundant and we have TAs covering PPA time instead.

MakeLemonade Wed 11-Sep-19 12:38:07

Where else should the money come from? They are our children, £40 spread over the year is a very modest contribution to their education.

Be prepared for it to go up at secondary by the way, we’ve just paid over £100 to DD’s school.

WhatsMyPassword Wed 11-Sep-19 12:38:36

Note use of the word voluntary , not compulsory

Trillis Wed 11-Sep-19 12:38:53

My DCs secondary schools request voluntary contributions of £30 a term, per child. I have 3 DCs so £270 a year. I have never paid it, but i know others do. They also request other contributions, some of which I pay and some I don't. I ignored the transport contribution for buses to away sports matches in the term where he only went once (£30 a year), but did pay it in the year where he was a regular on the team.

Sleepyhead19 Wed 11-Sep-19 12:39:15

At my daughters middle school, on the first day of term of year 6, we were asked for £15 per term contribution to cover the cost of stationary and PE equipment, and to pay for swimming lessons and not only a day trip but a week residential trip as well. The total was around £600.
The following morning we had a year meeting with the teachers and head (as we always did) and I was surprised that it was all the very wealthy mums who kicked off. I hadn't because I felt I had to just find the money and not make a fuss. I was glad they expressed their disappoint though! Unfortunately, all the costs still stood. It would've just been kinder to stagger the requests so we didn't have quite so much to pay for at once!

SoupDragon Wed 11-Sep-19 12:40:35

I think you need to look at the things all these requests for stuff are funding. They are for the benefit of the children rather than funding the staff Christmas party. Unfortunately there is no spare money for "extras" now.

Millie2016 Wed 11-Sep-19 12:43:23

@KTD27 that’s outrageous!

ImportantWater Wed 11-Sep-19 12:52:34

Our state secondary school is asking for £600 a year. I am not kidding.

ImportantWater Wed 11-Sep-19 12:52:53

I am not paying it, by the way.

MarigoldGlove Wed 11-Sep-19 12:53:03

I’ve been in a staff meeting where this was discussed. And it was out of desperation because the school had no money at all for things like cooking ingredients and the think was that if the parents knew that so many things couldn’t be planned then they would rather make a contribution to the school rather than have their dc miss out on activities.

Some time previously all of the staff had decided that they wouldn’t buy anything for their rooms out of their own money. Without exception.

The school had bought really terrible coloured pencils because they were cheaper. And they wouldn’t sharpen at all and were unusable really. Some classrooms still had last years stubs to use and some were down to wax crayons. Nine year olds don’t like colouring the Union Jack with those big fat wax crayons!

AmIRightOrAMeringue Wed 11-Sep-19 12:54:20

Schools with disadvantaged pupils (those that qualify for free school meals) do receive additional funding per pupil in this category (in response to a poster above who says schools with parents with more disposable income have more funds).

I dont necessarily agree with it but as a society we pay low taxes and there are funding shortfalls everywhere. I think my daughters school has a few hundred k shortfall from 5 years previously. Schools are just so underfunded. So I'm not sure what they are meant to do. Teachers already buy equipment and supplies from their own money but there is obviously a limit to this. Schools will have to prioritise learning equipment so if there wasnt any 'extra' money then things like playground equipment, library books etc wouldn't get replaced or upgraded when needed

westcountrychicken Wed 11-Sep-19 12:54:18

If my children were in a good school and they asked and I could afford it, I would happily donate. I would rather all children benefitted even if not all can contribute.

PotterHead1985 Wed 11-Sep-19 12:55:27

My secondary in the 90s wanted £500 voluntary contribution. Only it wasn't very voluntary. They hounded my single parent mother constantly to pay it when we didn't have it. They didn't respect the poor kids as much as the rich which was obvious. And I have no fucking clue what the money was for!

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