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Schools ask aprents for money - too often?

(11 Posts)
ParentsVoice Sat 07-Jul-07 21:33:20

I just posted a message in the PTA thread about fundraising ideas. The PTA do a grand job but as a parent I am feeling the strain and wish things were being done differently.

*The message I posted was this*:
"You know fundraising is great and I understand why it's necessary but the frequency of which I'm asked for money is really getting me down as a parent.

Here's why it's getting me down.

I'm a single parent. I have NO family in the area or anywhere near. My friends all have kids, so when it comes to sponsors, my kids have ONE name on the form and that's mine.

I recall the stigma of my youth and being the child of a single mum with NO family and it's starting again now with my own kids.

I don't want them singled out as being the 'poor' kid. I don't want them bullied because they can't enter school competitions or go to school in no uniform because their mum can't afford to keep up with it.

Today my child is given a spellathon form. The prizes are awarded NOT for achievement but for how much money is collected. There is no mention of ability to spell it's just money money money.

I'd rather be asked for a one off annual donation than feel the stress of wondering if when I open my child’s school bag there will be yet another request for money.

I feel there is NO choice whether to give or not give. If I don't pay my child is isolated and singled out as 'different' and no parent wants that for their child.

Things that take place during school hours should be free. Having to pay to enter competitions during school hours is the worst of them all. It makes the issue of who has most money and who has least become very apparent.

I know how being the 'poor kid' at school affected me. I want my children to keep up with their peers but at the same time I don't want to have to deprive my child of a swimming trip in order to pay for wearing no uniform. Yet that is what I have to do, as I have NO disposable income. Every penny is accounted for.

As a parent I would like to know what where the money goes. I would also like for things that take place during school hours to be free. Children should all be engaging in the same activity not some sitting out alone as their mum/dad didn't pay for them to join in.

There are great ways to fundraise that don't involve constant demands on the same ONE person for money."

*Anyone else feel like this?*

lljkk Sun 08-Jul-07 15:35:30

Not all schools are run as you describe; for instance, DS has a trip to a zoo this week. There's a voluntary contribn of £9. All children will go as long as enough people pay; there's no emphatic "children must pay to attend" requirement.

Paying to wear no uniform... our mufti days the children bring in something edible (goes in next Tombola). The item can be a 10p lolly or a £7 bottle of wine; either would be equally okay.

PTA has had fundraisers where the child who raised the most won a prize, but everyone was encouraged to give what they could (typically only a few £).

We also get swimming in school time for free from Yr2.

Is your child's school in a rather financially comfortable area? Is it a private school, even? Because it sounds like it. Ours is very middle middle class state school.

Whizzz Sun 08-Jul-07 15:45:39

I had a mini-winge about this too a while back. eg for sports day, we had to provide a T-shirt in the team colours (£6 + a huge trek round the shops to find the right colour!) - in my day, it was a coloured sash - what's wrong with wearing a sash over their PE kit?!) School trips are a voluntary contribution BUT it says if enough people don't pay then the trip will be cancelled (no pressure there then !) - this weeks trip is £12. Kids had a theme day - £1 to fund activities etc etc etc.
It must be hard if money is tight or you have multiple kids at school. I appreciate that schools need money to fund the 'nice' things but at the secondary school I work at, I don't see the same kind of constant demands for money.

mumblechum Mon 09-Jul-07 14:27:29

I'd much rather just set up a standing order for a fiver a month or whatever than all these individual requests for a couple of quid here and there.

I'm sure I'm not alone; surely if enough of us get onto the PTA/school things can change?

DominiConnor Mon 09-Jul-07 14:29:46

I agree with the OP 100%, and lijyk how many is a "few" ? You think it was a "few" to the kids singled out ?

muppetgirl Mon 09-Jul-07 14:36:24

Re the sash thing -isn't that now a 'health and safety' issue?

I was also the poor kid at school being given shoes out of the lost property box, having 2nd hand uniform ect etc. My brother refused to eat at school as he was bullied becasue of the free school meals and we all agree that things have got really out of hand by the designer clothes/trainners these days.

I found it difficult as a teacher to constantly give out lewtters asking for yet more money -it seemed everything had a collection or a charity focus. Good but it can be overbearing. The school I was working at suggested the £££ direct debit per month thing which I thought was a good idea and then they promised you would never be asked for any money at all.

Have you talked to your child's teacher about it or better still, raise it with the head. I'm sure you're not the only one who feels this way!

portonovo Mon 09-Jul-07 14:43:28

We have several requests but no real pressure. For example, many children come in non-uniform on mufti day but don't pay. The last mufti day when we asked for 50p each, we collected just over £120, that's from a school of 340-ish pupils. We never expect everyone to pay up!

If we have a visit by a theatre company or similar we are asked for a voluntary donation, but again those who don't pay still join in the activity. No child ever 'sits out alone' because no-one paid the contribution.

We get many more requests from secondary school, but I know they have a fund to help those who are really hard-up so their kids go on trips etc.

lljkk Mon 09-Jul-07 22:10:46

Dictionary definition of "few" = 2 or 3. So I meant £2 or £3. And nobody gets singled out for paying £0.

Actually, I am fairly sure quite a few parents pay 0£ for many events, but the average total collected per child for sponsored school events, I'm guessing, is about £2.50 (they raised £800 from a sponsored walk out of 352 students recently, that's just more than £2 each, right?). It's not like it becomes public record who paid what, anyway, FFS.

ParentsVoice is mixing up school activities with PTA activities, I notice, when complaining about extra costs. Neither side is really responsible for other, although Head should monitor whether parents are being tapped out too much.

BecauseImWorthIt Mon 09-Jul-07 22:22:48

It's not just at school either! We have just sent off an application to a local 6th form college for ds1. It is very popular and hugely over subscribed.

Along with the application form was another form for us to give a 'voluntary' donation of £10 to help them with their 'administration'

We have all paid, because we have made the assumption (difficult not to) that no donation = no place at the college.

I think it's incredibly cheeky and am still trying to decide what to do about it. But shall not be doing anything until I know if we've got a place!

juuule Mon 09-Jul-07 22:28:46

Our 6th form college asks for a £25 contribution.

PrettyCandles Mon 09-Jul-07 22:31:48

PV, perhaps you ought to consider turning your OP into a letter to the Headteacher.

I'm not in your situation, but I can certainly see how that sort of thing could be a problem.

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