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voluntary! contributions.

(13 Posts)
goingnowhere1 Sat 20-Nov-10 13:55:57

Dcs school just done a special day where an outside co. come in to do special activiies. Parents were asked to make a pyment. One payment went missing and school telephoned parent asking for money as they would hate child to miss out on activities. Is this right? Can school do this? Surely something as part of school day should be voluntary.

prh47bridge Sat 20-Nov-10 14:47:54

This is on the boundary of the rules and it depends exactly what has happened. Official guidance to school governors is that if an organisation acting independently of the school arranges an activity to take place during school hours they can charge parents. However, if the activity is organised by a third party and is approved by the school, is educational or is supervised by someone authorised by the school any payment should be in the form of a voluntary contribution.

DreamTeamGirl Sat 20-Nov-10 15:20:39

I dont know about the rules, but to phone and say child cant take part in something during the school day is shocking!
What a terrible thing to do to the child and parents

princessparty Sat 20-Nov-10 17:52:50

It's not on the boundary of the rules.The schools actions were clearly outside them!
For activities during the school day contributions are voluntary and no child can be excluded because a parent is unwilling or unable to pay.

montymum Sat 20-Nov-10 18:03:42

are you sure they phoned to ask for money and not just for permission? We would never exclude a child for not paying but with some activities we need permission so will phone and ask for that.

DreamTeamGirl Sat 20-Nov-10 18:40:07

That would make a lot more success montymum- a call to say we havent had your return slip and/ or payment and sounds much more likely!!

DreamTeamGirl Sat 20-Nov-10 18:40:30

success?????? I mean sense of course!!

prh47bridge Sat 20-Nov-10 19:40:57

Princessparty - I'm sorry but you are wrong. Go to the Education Department website and read chapter 23 of the Guide to the Law for School Governors. It states:

When an organisation acting independently of a school or LA arranges an activity to take
place during school hours and parents want their children to join the activity, such
organisations may charge parents. Parents must then ask the school to agree to their
children being absent, just as they would if they wanted to take their children out of school for a family holiday. However, where an activity is organised by a third party and is approved by the school, is educational or is supervised by someone authorised by the school, then it is the DCSF’s view that it should be treated as if it were provided by the school and no charge should be made to the parents or pupils.

princessparty Mon 22-Nov-10 15:02:56

prh47bridge- but the school have presumably arranged it.They will have invited the company to come in .So the law you have quoted surely doesn't apply.

prh47bridge Mon 22-Nov-10 16:27:26

Princessparty - to be honest, I find this particular paragraph of the guidance difficult to interpret. I presume these activities are not educational or supervised by someone authorised by the school, so we can ignore that bit.

An outside organisation cannot simply come onto school premises and organise an activity. They obviously need permission. So at what point does giving permission cross over into approving the activity? I'm not entirely sure and it may need the courts to sort that one out. It could simply be the difference between a company contacting the school and asking if they can run an activity, and the school contacting a company and asking them to run the activity.

princessparty Mon 22-Nov-10 19:22:00

very confusing.
The only thing I can think of is where the site is shared by say a preschool,sure start centre etc which is independent of the school.For example there is a playgroup based in a portacabin at DDs old school.They used to sometimes invite the reception children to their concerts and xmas party. doing.i suppose that would fall under this [ they could charge the children for entry and the school would not have to pay for those who didn't want to go.

admission Mon 22-Nov-10 20:03:58

I think the easiest way to look at this is that by law the school has to be open for educational purposes for 190 days in the year, I believe.
Did this activity take place during one of those days? If so then I would suggest that the school is seeing it as having educational benefit (even if it is a bit dodgy) and as such the payment request should be for voluntary donations.
As for the parent effectively being told that they pay or the child misses the activity - very naughty!

prh47bridge Mon 22-Nov-10 21:47:18

I tend to agree with Admission, although in terms of the guidance I'm not sure how that fits in with the bit about parents having to ask the school to agree to children being absent on a day when an activity for which they can charge is taking place. I just wish the DCSF (for it was them, before they got re-organised) hadn't put such a badly worded and confusing paragraph in their guidance.

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