School request for money

(226 Posts)
TinyTroubleMaker Mon 17-May-21 10:25:47

Wondering whether this is normal. Dd1 is in Year 2. Lovely school, in what I would call a lower middle class area, on average (in case that's seen as relevant. It isn't a hugely poor area for example). A few weeks ago I received a notification that an activity had been booked for the children in her year, at a cost of about £15 and it would go ahead if enough parents paid this. Sounded fair enough that parents could choose whether to pay, which is their decision. I hadn't got round to paying as have been very busy and hadn't quite decided either way if I'm being honest. It seemed quite a high cost and DD already does a number of paid-for activities.

Since then I've started receiving daily messages and more recently calls from the school, as though this is an outstanding debt I'm due to pay and haven't. Which shifts the dynamic a bit. The calls come in from the school line during work meetings so I can't answer them, I then get a follow up message saying I should pay online. Normally I would jump to it if the school rang during the day, so I'm a bit annoyed they are calling to chase money as I don't know whether it's an emergency with my child or not when I see their number on the phone. Going forward I won't be as inclined to jump out of a professional meeting and answer. It's a bit like the boy who cried wolf.

I'm in two minds about whether to pay. I'm down to my last money this month, that has to last 10 days until I'm paid. The school money is for a nice activity but nothing my child won't cope without. I'm feeling resentful that I was never asked whether it's something I agree to, but I'm being chased as though I'm a culprit who hasn't paid something owed. I can't help feeling if I were a parent with money worries, the tone of the communications would put someone under more undue pressure and it's not right. Noone should feel obliged to pay something they never asked for or agreed to, or feel they owe a school an explanation about their personal finances.

YABU - shut up and cough up, this is completely normal behaviour from a school
YANBU - no I wouldn't like that either

OP’s posts: |
HercwasanEnemyofEducation Mon 17-May-21 10:29:49

They're probably just after a definite yes or no. Organising something like this is difficult enough without them waiting for a decision from you. Make a decision and communicate with them. You're wasting their time by not responding.

sweeneytoddsrazor Mon 17-May-21 10:30:53

Well they need to know so they can book the activity. You don't need to pay but you need to let them know if you aren't, not fanny around deciding.

Thatisnotwhatisaid Mon 17-May-21 10:31:37

They clearly just want to know whether you want a place for your DD or not and you don’t seem to have made your mind up. If you want her to go then pay for it, if not tell them you don’t want her to go. Sorted.

sunflowertulip Mon 17-May-21 10:33:38

The way it works at school here is either everyone goes or no one. Tell them if you can't afford it so they know if enough parents will be able to pay. If you can afford it (even if it's 10 days time then tell them that).

I see these costs as compulsory really unless it would really put a massive strain on your finances.

idontlikealdi Mon 17-May-21 10:33:49

Just let them know whether or not she is taking part.

Our letters always come with a line to say that the payment isn't compulsory but without it he trip / event may not go ahead and / or increase the price for those who are taking part.

catinboots123 Mon 17-May-21 10:34:10

Just let them know if she's doing the activity or not? Surely they are just making sure she's not going to miss out?

You are making this hard work for literally no reason

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Ponoka7 Mon 17-May-21 10:35:11

Why can't you make the decision and instead of posting on here, get back to the school? They've put a suggestion out and want an answer, nothing more. If you are so opposed to not having things ran past you first, join the PTA. It's a nightmare organising these things to be messed around by stubborn or chaotic parents.

LettyLoman Mon 17-May-21 10:41:04

Is this a normal school time activity? Does your child want to go? Can you afford to let her go? Make a decision and stop being selfish. If the cost of the trip has to increased because some kids are not going then school needs to know so parents can know.

You need to answer the school when they ring.

otterinthestream Mon 17-May-21 10:42:32

I wouldn’t be thrilled either.

It’s all very well people saying that you should just say if you can’t afford it but that’s really embarrassing, especially when it’s a small amount.

Voluntary contributions should mean voluntary.

wildeverose Mon 17-May-21 10:43:05

YABU- they need to know whether to book your dd a place, and you're making it difficult. Just let them know one way or the other.

SoupDragon Mon 17-May-21 10:44:09

The school money is for a nice activity but nothing my child won't cope without.

As another poster said, around here the activity would be cancelled completely if not enough people paid.

You need to speak to the school and explain.

Bluntness100 Mon 17-May-21 10:44:52

Is there a reason you can’t jist tell them she’s not going? It’s the fact you’re saying nothing is the issue. Just decline it and they won’t contact you again, or agree it and pay. It’s not right to just say nothing.

wingsofsteel Mon 17-May-21 10:46:33

I think it depends- is this a voluntary out of school time activity that you haven't decided whether you want your child to do or is it a school time activity for which the letter says payment from parents is voluntary?

If the former- you need to make a decision and let school know. It's a total PITA when parents expect a place to be held indefinitely.

If the latter- requests for payment for school trips etc are always worded as voluntary (schools are not allowed to insist on payment from parents for compulsory activities). However, budgets etc will have been worked out on the assumption that everyone pays, except possibly families they know have financial difficulties. I think it's a crap state of affairs but school budgets just won't allow for school trips without parent contributions. So the school will see the payment as owing unless you contact them to say you can't afford it. Schools I know have separate funds (from PTA/local charities etc) that they can ask for funding from where it's really needed.

Hoppinggreen Mon 17-May-21 10:46:35

If she’s not doing it tell them, if she is pay.
Problem solved

GreyhoundG1rl Mon 17-May-21 10:47:14

Just Say No. They're only hassling you because you won't answer the bloody question! You can't just rock up on the day if you choose to, these things have to be booked in advance.

TorringtonDean Mon 17-May-21 10:47:46

I think you should pay up so she can go because missing out on school trips can be hard for your kids. It sounds like you can afford it but haven’t made up your mind. But I don’t think the school should be actively harassing you. It sounds extremely.

Shoxfordian Mon 17-May-21 10:50:52

It seems like they’re chasing you because you haven’t confirmed if she’s doing it or not so just make a decision and either pay or say she’s not going

DysmalRadius Mon 17-May-21 10:51:07

Did the initial communication give a deadline for responses?

FoxtrotSkarloey Mon 17-May-21 10:51:07

Hassling you for money isn't right, but perhaps they're just chasing an answer and reminding you of the options e.g. if you want to pay this is how.

Just get on with replying and the calls will stop!

MrsHuntGeneNotJeremyObviously Mon 17-May-21 10:52:33

Yanbu. I would have taken their initial communication to mean that if you pay in a timely fashion then it's clear you value this activity and if you don't pay soon after request, that you don't want to pay and don't value this activity. Chasing parents and phoning them at work is unacceptable imo. School should only be contacting you during the day for important things relating to the child's wellbeing.
This is typical behaviour though - some schools are very good at spending other people's money without their consent and implying that there is something wrong with you if you object to this. Many schools do forget that not everyone has disposable income and for some families every penny is accounted for.

BrilliantBetty Mon 17-May-21 10:56:08

Yes I can see that them chasing up to this extent is annoying and would potentially be stressful/ humiliating for someone struggling.

But they just want an answer so it is also frustrating for them that you won't answer. Either commit to it or decline so they can tick it off their long list of things to do.

GreyhoundG1rl Mon 17-May-21 10:56:55

some schools are very good at spending other people's money without their consent and implying that there is something wrong with you if you object to this.
Hardly, in this case. Op is just refusing to respond 🤷🏻‍♀️

Bluntness100 Mon 17-May-21 10:58:27

Op is something missing here. Have you told them she’s going but you are not going to pay? Something is missing in your communication. They seem to think she’s coming and you’re paying. Send an email if you don’t want to talk to them but you need to be clear. They are not mind readers.

Bluntness100 Mon 17-May-21 10:59:12

MrsHuntGeneNotJeremyObviously

Yanbu. I would have taken their initial communication to mean that if you pay in a timely fashion then it's clear you value this activity and if you don't pay soon after request, that you don't want to pay and don't value this activity. Chasing parents and phoning them at work is unacceptable imo. School should only be contacting you during the day for important things relating to the child's wellbeing.
This is typical behaviour though - some schools are very good at spending other people's money without their consent and implying that there is something wrong with you if you object to this. Many schools do forget that not everyone has disposable income and for some families every penny is accounted for.

I think you’ve misread or misunderstood the op.

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