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I am Appalled by the suggestion that some Grammar schools are asking for up to £60 a month.

(45 Posts)
soul2000 Sat 02-Nov-13 13:12:54

I have just been on 11+ Exam website, and i have just read something i
am actually shocked about. Some grammar schools are asking for up to £60
a month in contributions , masked as development funds. This is dreadful
and surely unacceptable to be touting for funds in letters addressed to the parents of pupils. Parents who may be struggling, are made to contribute
by fear of being discriminated against if they do not.

Is it wrong to send circulars asking for money "DIRECTLY" from state schools.

HmmAnOxfordComma Sat 02-Nov-13 13:17:10

Not unique to grammar schools at all.

scaevola Sat 02-Nov-13 13:19:07

It's perfectly legal and not restricted to grammar schools.

It would however be illegal if it was not made crystal clear that any donation to any fund for a state school is voluntary, and no pupil should be treated differently because of parental response to the request.

soul2000 Sat 02-Nov-13 13:34:24

What about if kids start asking each other how much did your parents give?.
Apparently some of these schools have been saying what the average amount each family pays in their circulars. It has been known for schools to send another letter to families if they have not sent back a cheque .
Of course schools have to funding, but it should not be so in your face .

scaevola Sat 02-Nov-13 13:36:39

Schools who are behaving as you describe are breaking the law. I'm not sure who it should be reported to, but it's something to make a godawful fuss about.

You can stop your DC from participating in 'how much did your parents give' conversations by refusing to tell them.

Unexpected Sat 02-Nov-13 14:13:55

It is legal to ask parents to contribute to school funds. It is also perfectly legal to say that the average family has contributed £X annually. Both our primary and secondary schools ask for contributions in this way and both will send reminders or mention it in the school newsletter. However, it is voluntary and if people choose to ignore it (and lots do!) they cannot be forced to pay. I believe our school only sends one reminder which I am perfectly happy with as I pay each year but have been known to forget on more than one occasion so I depend on those reminders!

Why on earth would children ask how much their parents give? Why would they even be interested in that? And why would you tell them that you are contributing or how much?

DorisHerod Sat 02-Nov-13 14:20:52

Children do know because staff give verbal reminders...don't forget to bring back your donation letter etc.

My older DCs will ask if I have donated and I won't lie to them. I say no because free education is part of living in a democracy and I won't be part of undermining that. I say if their HT would like to contact me I am happy to explain that the school has my full support in every way except those that make poorer families they aren't as welcome.

Over the years they have begun to see my viewpoint as they have studied politics and sociology etc for themselves.

<unreformed old socialist emoticon>

HmmAnOxfordComma Sat 02-Nov-13 17:20:13

We're not really in an area/county where this is common but I was rather surprised when running the PTA and I surveyed parents about what kind of fundraisers they would like to see, many replied 'a direct debit per month; I'm time poor and cash rich'. I was surprised because it was a school with a large proportion of SAHMs (and some Ds) and probably averagely affluent for the area (not wealthy).

I mentioned it to the Head who disagreed with the whole concept; I have to say I agreed with him. But it was very odd that people were asking to be able to contribute this way before it was suggested by the school or PTA.

TheArticFunky Sat 02-Nov-13 21:52:00

The state nursery school that ds attended for nursery sent letters out asking for voluntary contributions. If you didn't respond they sent out a follow up letter requesting money if you still failed to respond you were sent a letter inviting you to meet the Headteacher to explain your reasons for non payment of the "voluntary" fund.

DorrisM Sat 02-Nov-13 21:57:29

At my dd's grammar we are asked for £30 per month per child, we haven't paid and our dd's haven't asked.

NoComet Sat 02-Nov-13 22:12:08

I had an incomprehensible conversation with someone at a wedding. They teach at a state girls school, I think, in Surrey. As far as I could make out, you only got a place if you agreed to pay, which is surely totally illegal.

OddSins Sat 02-Nov-13 22:46:39

Your easily appalled. You can say no very easily or you can invest in your childs school. Think of it as considerably less than 50% income tax and 11% NIC (61% marginal tax rates) that the government was up until recently demanding from a section of UK taxpayers.

Give something to the school and be grateful your child is in a good school. You'll feel better about it, honestly.

gallicgirl Sat 02-Nov-13 22:52:25

Of course if people in the 50% tax bracket paid the tax rather than find ways of not paying tax, then maybe schools would be better funded and they wouldn't feel the need to ask parents for donations.

curlew Sat 02-Nov-13 22:56:55

If you can't afford £60 a month you've got no chance of getting your kid into a grammar school anyway, so...........

DorrisM Sat 02-Nov-13 23:03:09

Curlew, really? I have two dc's in a super selective grammar and Whilst I could afford to pay £60 per month if it was absolutely necessary I'm not prepared to pay it. We pay a huge amount of tax per month and it costs us an additional £80 per month just in bus fairs for dd's. That's before we'd talk about the uniform, which is very expensive and the school trips. Dd1 has already come home with a letter for a GCSE Spanish trip at £600 and talk of a trip for RS GCSE to either India or NewYork (hate to think how much).

gallicgirl Sat 02-Nov-13 23:03:58

Oh yeah, that's right. Because everyone on a low income is stupid. ..... doh.

curlew Sat 02-Nov-13 23:06:34

No, everyone on a low income is not stupid. And everyone on a high income ins not clever.

But people from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds are far less likely to get into grammar school than better off ones. You may find this an unpalatable fact, but it is fact none the less.

bsc Sat 02-Nov-13 23:12:47

Faith schools do this all the time, but people seem to just cough up.

If one can afford to support one's DCs' schools, why would one not? If one cannot afford it, one has nothing to worry about surely?

Lottiedoubtie Sat 02-Nov-13 23:17:15

<whispers I know of that school in Surrey, and it is legal and the fee charged is for 'facilities' not education>

thecatfromjapan Sat 02-Nov-13 23:24:27

I think that it is how some schools choose to raise money.

I used to have my children at a very small state primary that very easily raised in excess of £20,000 every year, through the school fête alone. Never mind all the other things that were dreamed up. And that was years ago.

At secondary, parents are less involved and often would prefer to just sign over that money (as another poster has said) by direct debit.

Now, is there any real difference between a school raising a lot of money through events and one raising money by direct debit/cheque payments?

I think there is not that much difference.

And both are on morally shaky ground when you bring a third school into the equation, where the parents are not very affluent, and perhaps raise a few thousand slogging away throughout the year.

So should all state schools just not raise money?

Perhaps. But then that is also quite tough when you look at all the cuts that are going through at the moment.

Secondaries are going to be losing teachers. Quite a few teachers.

Primaries are losing tens of thousands from their annual budgets.

Ideally, we would be outraging at these cuts, and maybe looking towards a point where state schools don't have to fundraise.

meditrina Sat 02-Nov-13 23:27:08

VA tend to do a lot of fundraising (they have to meet a %age of their annual capital costs) and it's likely a lot of them ask for contributions.

But it's not just them that do this. One request and one reminder seem reasonable (as long are both are clear it's voluntary) but I think beyond that would be wrong, and any spoken request to a pupil would be wrong too.

QOD Sat 02-Nov-13 23:27:30

My dd is at a grammar school and they ask for a MASSIVE £8 a year!! Cheek wink

I've never paid it

17leftfeet Sat 02-Nov-13 23:37:32

This is nothing new

When I was at school in the 90s, our parents were asked for a voluntary donation of £100 for the school funds to buy art materials, books etc

There were 3 of us at the school and while my parents could have afforded it on principle they decided not to pay it

I can still remember now being hounded by the teacher for it, asked in form group most mornings where it was and I was mortified

One day though rather than making excuses I said
'Because education is a human right and in this country every child has the right to a free education provided by the state. If my dad had wanted to pay for my education he would have opted out of the state system, not be a drain on resources and sent me to private school. However i attend a state school. Therefore we won't be paying the school fund.

Funny how he never asked again

timidviper Sun 03-Nov-13 00:01:07

My nephew went to a state grammar. SIL told me they paid some kind of voluntary contribution and were happy to do so as, if he hadn't got into that particular school, they'd have had to pay for private school which would have cost a heck of a lot more.

I genuinely do not understand why, if people can afford to pay, they would not. These contributions help the school to deliver better and I think it is the responsibility of those parents who can pay to do so rather than sit back and expect others to do it or expect children to do without.

I'm shocked at comments like "we pay a lot of tax", well so do a lot of the rest of us who don't have the chance to send DCs to good state schools and I'm not sure how socialism would be against richer people contributing and the proceeds benefitting all children including those who can't afford it.

gallicgirl Sun 03-Nov-13 08:26:36

The point is that we already contribute through taxation.
If government funded schools properly, donations wouldn't be needed unless it was for extras like holidays and non-educational trips.
I know it's naive and idealistic but I think free access for all to a decent education should be possible and desirable.

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