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Silent taxation of primary parents

(36 Posts)
sammycruick Thu 23-Jun-16 15:45:09

I am a freelance language teacher and have previously worked in secondary. I also have two children in state sector primary schools.

The other morning I was dismayed to find that on setting up a new lunchtime language club, I was faced with the primary school's 'Business Manager'. She was adamant that to improve her budget she had to charge us for using the school (during the lunch hour). I pointed out that we are a low margin business, and that this cost would be passed on to parents, and she and the head were happy with that.

Do you know if other state schools are silently imposing this additional tax on parents who support their children's education? How do you feel about this as parents?

The attitude at the school was that if parents are able to afford the club, then they can afford the additional 'hire fee'.

PlatoTheGreat Thu 23-Jun-16 15:53:37

That's what happens when schools are run as a business
I'm not surprised at all.

Laselva Thu 23-Jun-16 15:54:36

It depends, if you are providing the service free there should be no cost.
If however, you are charging for the club then I think you should pay. If you are charging then it is not for the benefit of all the children attending the school and there will be costs to the school (wear and tear, use of power, cleaning).

PatriciaHolm Thu 23-Jun-16 15:55:16

It's routine for schools to charge external, profit making clubs for using their premises. If you want to use anyone else's premises for your money making venture, you would get charged. Why should schools be different?

AuntieStella Thu 23-Jun-16 15:55:40

I thought all schools charged outside providers for use of premises.

At least since the time I've had first hand experience (early00s)

titchy Thu 23-Jun-16 16:23:20

It's hardly a tax OP - if you think it is can I strongly suggest you talk to an accountant.

It's premises hire cost that's all. Tax deductible in fact. Why on earth did you think the school was going to give you free premises from which to run your profit making business?

sammycruick Thu 23-Jun-16 16:46:58

I must have expressed my point all wrong. My business head totally gets it. My parent head is aghast. I wrongly thought that state schools were there to offer opportunities to all children. By inflating prices, they are limiting access to the wealthy few.

LazyFemme Thu 23-Jun-16 16:49:16

Offer your classes for free then, not all children will be able to afford them with or without the hire fee. Put your money where your mouth is

LazyFemme Thu 23-Jun-16 16:49:58

Or you could absorb the extra costs so as not to "inflate" the cost

MaybeDoctor Thu 23-Jun-16 16:53:37

I hear what you are saying - go to the head or PTA and ask them to fund the club.

IoraRua Thu 23-Jun-16 16:55:11

The school had facilities that need to be paid for. If you're running a free club, I'm sure you could find a local sponsor (considering you're self describing as a business, I don't think this is the case).

If you're charging, stop expecting other people to roll over and give you their resources for free while you line your pockets. It's greedy and entitled behaviour.

DrownedGirl Thu 23-Jun-16 16:58:44

Schools aren't really allowed to offer free letting to commercial organisations - in effect it means the school is subsidising the business, and it's not good practice.

(I am a school business manager. I don't know why you put it in speech marks. A school is a multi million pound organisation and a medium sized employer)

drspouse Thu 23-Jun-16 17:04:34

How would posters see this if it was a voluntary club? I'm thinking Guiding here because that's what I do.
- Normally subs are lower than commercial after school activities.
- They are also generally aimed at being inclusive but cannot subsidise all/majority of children.
- I have never heard of a sponsor covering all the costs of a Guiding unit. We've had grants for camps/outings from charitable organisations, or to cover uniform for a girl in need, but the annual costs of our unit run into 1000s
- Leaders are volunteers and will not get paid, maybe a few expenses

Charging for something is not equal to lining your pockets.

Brokenbiscuit Thu 23-Jun-16 17:05:51

I must have expressed my point all wrong. My business head totally gets it. My parent head is aghast. I wrongly thought that state schools were there to offer opportunities to all children. By inflating prices, they are limiting access to the wealthy few.

No, your language classes are only open to the children whose parents are willing and able to pay for them.

The money that the school charges you for use of their premises can be invested back into the school for the benefit of all children.

If you don't want to limit the opportunity to the wealthy kids who can afford to pay, then you need to offer the club free of charge to all children.

As a parent, I think I'd be quite annoyed if the school was allowing a profit-making enterprise to use the facilities for free.

BackforGood Thu 23-Jun-16 17:06:35

You aren't offering the classes for free though, as a community project. You are a business, wanting to use premises to enable your business to run. It's absolutely right that they charge a business for using the premises.

Schools have always charged for use of rooms - yes, even to charities like Brownies and Cubs who are all volunteers giving their time for free. I can't see why you would expect them to be subsidising your business confused. what an odd idea.

Brokenbiscuit Thu 23-Jun-16 17:07:27

How would posters see this if it was a voluntary club?

Personally, I'd feel differently about a non-profit making organisation.

IoraRua Thu 23-Jun-16 17:12:44

I would be more willing to offer a free area to a voluntary club. OP runs a business, they try to turn a profit so yes, lining pockets in my eyes. Guides and Scouts also offer bursaries to poor families - seen no mention of that here. OP automatically rules out some people by charging so trying to take the moral high ground and whinge about "schools limiting access to the wealthy few" is ridiculous.

I've no objection to people making money - I do object to them expecting to be handed others resources for free. Money the school get from op can be ploughed back into the school.

BertrandRussell Thu 23-Jun-16 17:17:29

So basically you're complaining that the school is not providing you with free business premises?

Tiggeryoubastard Thu 23-Jun-16 17:21:18

So you can 'tax' (bloody ridiculous term) those that can afford it but no one else can? Unless you give the lessons free you're a hypocrite.

OddBoots Thu 23-Jun-16 17:27:44

If you were basing the club in any other building you would have to pay room hire. Why would you expect a school to be any different?

titchy Thu 23-Jun-16 17:29:16

State schools are there to educate all the kids that go. Often the teachers give their time for free to offer clubs outside of lesson times.

Quite how you take this to mean they must let you have free premises to run your business I don't know.

Tiggeryoubastard Thu 23-Jun-16 17:31:40

You expect the school to subsidise your business (which you charge people to access) and witter about taxation when they won't. Unbelievably stupid view to take.

Lunar1 Thu 23-Jun-16 17:31:49

Offer your service for free, the parents would then only have to pay for the upkeep and running of the facilities after hours. Everybody wins.

merlottime Thu 23-Jun-16 17:34:41

You could argue that the OP should also be paying the school for finding a client base /marketing the club to prospective clients.

sammycruick Thu 23-Jun-16 18:31:07

I'm really glad that parents are willing to pay additional fees to keep school buildings open during the school day. I was wrong and thought you wouldn't want to. Now we can increase prices to help schools, in the knowledge we have full parental support. Everybody wins smile

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