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cost of school trips - teacher or governor advice needed

(18 Posts)
tatt Mon 14-Feb-05 10:01:09

the LEA has a policy that children entitled to free school meals only pay for board and lodging on school trips. If I take this up do the other parents end up subsidising my child, do the LEA pay the difference or does it have to come from school funds?

Beansmum Mon 14-Feb-05 10:03:04

I'm guessing the other parents end up subsidising, that's what happened when I was at school anyway.

Beansmum Mon 14-Feb-05 10:03:56

I only know that because my mum is a teacher, the other kids didn't know and it wasn't a big deal.

Hulababy Mon 14-Feb-05 10:06:23

May come from school funds, as they generally have a smal store of cash funds available for such reasons.

I guess the letters have already come out, outlining the costs of the trip?

If yes, then I suspect this is what will happen, as they can't really send out second letters to people asking for more money at a later date.

roisin Mon 14-Feb-05 10:11:52

Other parents will not be subsidising your child. It is illegal for schools to charge children a cost for a school trip which is higher than the actual unit cost of the trip. Schools may have a 'slush fund' to cover differences, or fundraising. Don't know whether anything comes from the LEA or not.

Sparks Mon 14-Feb-05 10:52:54

In my dd's school, they use money from fundraising to make up the difference. The money is controlled by the PTA.

lockets Mon 14-Feb-05 11:29:44

Message withdrawn

tatt Mon 14-Feb-05 13:23:13

the letter only gave an estimate of cost not an exact figure. I don't want to pay the lower rate and find out other parents are making up the difference - either directly or through the PTA.

Hulababy Mon 14-Feb-05 13:44:28

Ask for a break down of the costs. This sets out exactly what they are asking for and why. TBH at our school it is automatically written down on the letters.

Rarrie Tue 15-Feb-05 12:34:10

In my school, whenever we organise a trip, the cost has to include a contribution to the central fund which is then used to subsidise parents who can't afford to pay. This was also true of my last school. But I shouldn't worry, theamount the kids pay also have to subsidise that of the teachers to go too! In all the trips I have been on, I have never had access to any money from the LEA for subsidising those who cannot afford to pay - in all schools, each trip has to pay for itself, and so yes, indirectly other students do subsidise. But they never know and its no big deal, and usually is only a very small amount (about £1 extra per child) which is usually nothing to the cost they pay for the coach!!!

Slinky Tue 15-Feb-05 12:39:10

When our school organises a trip, we first receive a letter with details and APPROXIMATE cost. There is a tear-off slip at the bottom which you fill in, and confirm whether you can pay ALL, PART or NONE of the cost.

Later on, a further letter will come out with more detailed info, plus the EXACT amount they want you to pay. Sometimes it's higher than the approximate figure (not much though), or the same.

So I would guess that other parents do subsidise some of it.

Ailsa Tue 15-Feb-05 22:48:43

The school is required by law to have their own charging policy - ask to see it.

tatt Fri 18-Feb-05 07:45:51

Thanks - I've e-mailed the LEA and confirmed that other parents have to pay, directly or through the PTA. So we will be paying the full amount. It isn't a small difference as its an expensive trip and there won't be masses of children going.

Catan Fri 18-Feb-05 15:12:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sauvignon Fri 18-Feb-05 17:37:44

My understanding is that it depends on whether the activity can be charged for, or whether a voluntary contribution is requested. There are fairly complicated criteria for deciding if there is a "charge" or a "contribution". For example, I think that a charge would be made for something like a GCSE field trip which is an essential part of an examinable course, in which case everybody is expected to pay, unless they are in receipt of certain benefits, in which case they would get a remission either from school funds or an external grant. If parents don't receive these benefits, then they have to pay and their children can't attend if they can't/won't. I don't know how strictly the last bit is applied but very importantly, with a charge you can only charge for the actual cost of the board and lodging/transport etc, not to susbidise children who can't pay. I think.

However, for other activities which aren't examinable, for example enrichment activities such as field trips, residentials, trips to the zoo etc, you can't make a charge and there is no compulsion or even expectation that parents will pay. However, you have to make it clear from the outset that the activity won't go ahead unless enough parents do pay. However, because schools are only asking for a voluntary contribution, you can pay however much or little as you like, and schools can request the payment for a greater variety of things, including costs associated with children not going or paying, eg supply costsfor those children who remain in school, or a subsidy for those children whose parents can't/won't pay. I think.

Here's a link to guidance and a model policy on Teachernet, which is a fabulous site for all those can they/can't they questions which often crop up.

I hope that helps. Obviously they guidance doesn't address the various rights and wrongs or the situation!

Catan Fri 18-Feb-05 22:19:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CarrieG Fri 18-Feb-05 22:28:52

My understanding is that:

a) teachers usually get free places (OK, this really means that the holiday provider is costing 1 teacher/x number of kids & jigging the price accordingly!) - a colleague & I chipped in single supplements on our last trip to Greece rather than share, but the basic trip was 'free'.

b) students whose parents can't pay are paid for (discreetly) from school fund, eg. from fund-raising. Our school also sends letters out a year or more in advance, & lots of parents pay in installments.

janeybops Fri 18-Feb-05 23:04:26

I thought that you cannot 'overcharge' for trips in case some people don't pay.

IME the school funds either covers non-payers or in the case of more expensive overnight trips the PTA contributes some money. I have never heard of LEA subsidising trips

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