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Regular voluntary parental contributions to state school

(81 Posts)
allyfe Thu 07-Mar-13 11:42:17

Sadly, funding cuts at our primary school are forcing them to try and find creative ways of getting funding for crucial 'luxuries' such as ITC etc. As a result, the parents are suggesting that ask for a regular (yearly or termly) contribution from all parents. It would be voluntary, set up by standing order, by any parent who can afford it.

Personally, I think it is a very sad state of affairs that this is necessary, but I would rather not get into a debate about the morals of this.

Rather, my question is to any parents/teachers/governors in schools where this already occurs, what sums to do you request, and do you know how many parents contribute? And has it reduced the money that parents also contribute to the PTA? Any advice/suggestions would be welcome. Thanks!

forevergreek Thu 07-Mar-13 12:07:11

I think it's a good idea.

If you have a fee to be paid every September it will become know and people can save all year if needed.

£50 in september for better resources and education would be great. That's less than £1 a week.

£50 from 100 pupils would give the school and extra £5000

MrsHoarder Thu 07-Mar-13 12:26:09

They have to be very careful about the legalities, if its not very clearly voluntary then they could get into trouble for trying to charge for entrance to a state school.

Our old PTA used to run a "hundred club": basically similar but there was a monthly draw with a cash prize.

Labro Thu 07-Mar-13 14:29:40

ds last school had this, it was called the 'govenors fund' and the suggested voluntary contribution was £30 a family (large primary school) Not sure how they arranged it but had standing order forms etc and you could contribute more or less if wished.

Bonsoir Thu 07-Mar-13 14:37:32

I think this is a good idea and a better alternative to bake sales, tombolas, bring & buys etc as a form of fundraising - it is clear to all and sundry and involves no messy organisation.

starfishmummy Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:04

DS's school sent a note out asking for a voluntary donation of £5 per half term. They asked once and then never again so I think there must have been complaints and it fizzled out. So we are back to being asked for a pound or two here and there as needed.

megandraper Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:23

I don't know - I think that if I was going to pay a regular contribution, I would want a say in how it was spent, not just hand it over.

Bonsoir Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:57

Even better if the school is very pro-active in communicating how the money raised is spent, so that everyone can see the benefits.

pooka Thu 07-Mar-13 14:40:18

We have an annual voluntary contribution of £20 per family for the school fund. NOt for stuff like ICT but really as a contingency fund to cover any shortfalls in school trip contributions etc.

You can pay via parent pay (as for school lunches etc). No individual reminders, but maybe a general email in December/March to remind parents of voluntary contribution (so no hassling those who cant or dont want to pay).

EarlyInTheMorning Thu 07-Mar-13 14:41:34

Our school requests £30 school fund plus £30 capitation fund per child per year. Newcomers at the school assume that everyone pays, so they start paying. I always pay because I can. I know a great deal of parents who refuse to pay because they simply don't want to pay. As soon as this becomes common knowledge contributions go down - 'if they don't pay why should I' kind of culture. The parents that don't pay because they can ill afford it are not vocal about it. And of course why should they, it's a private matter.

lougle Thu 07-Mar-13 14:42:48

"for crucial 'luxuries' such as ITC etc."

Now there's an oxymoron grin

I'm not sure. Isn't that what PTAs are for?

Mutteroo Thu 07-Mar-13 14:44:58

£50 'donation' suggested at DS sixth form college. Can pay it via the parental payments system the college is part of or pay by cheque. Simple!

wonderstuff Thu 07-Mar-13 14:46:26

My DDs school ask for £11 a year. The school I work in doesn't ask for any money and in fact funded school uniform for each child in Sept.

tallulah Thu 07-Mar-13 15:00:44

50 quid in September forevergreek?! We had 4 kids at school at the same time,3 of whom had September birthdays, and really struggled to find the 10 pound 'voluntary' payment demanded with menaces.(we would get regular reminders all term until I told them to sling their hook).

This sort of debate really shows the difference between the haves and have nots. On paper we are well off but struggle to pay bills. No way could I find that sort of money.

jammietart Thu 07-Mar-13 15:11:20

We do as DS's school isn't fully funded and they have to find the money for maintenance and upgrading of the building. We are asked for £10 per child per month. We pay £50. Aparently 60% of parents contribute but I don't know total amount rec'd. Still the same PTA stuff plus one off fundraising such as Balls etc.

PatriciaHolm Thu 07-Mar-13 15:57:23

We have a Governor's fund too, people contribute on a monthly or yearly direct debit, which is used for things such as Ipads, as well as the PTA which is generally for more "frivolities" such as playground equipment, fun activities etc. This is a relatively affluent area though.

Lovelygoldboots Thu 07-Mar-13 16:03:43

We don't have it. With three children in the same primary I couldnt afford it, wouldnt pay and therefore would feel awful. I have enough trouble keeping on top of the dinner money.

lougle Thu 07-Mar-13 16:09:12

"We do as DS's school isn't fully funded"

In what sense isn't it fully funded, jammietart?

noisytoys Thu 07-Mar-13 16:45:51

We have a £15 a term 'voluntary' contribution, plus £12 a term swimming money (children can't swim if they don't pay), £10 a term milk and snack money and £2-5 a week for whatever they feel like collecting for. It's too much

forevergreek Thu 07-Mar-13 17:30:48

I still think £50 in sept is fair. I know people have just brought uniform
Etc, some have birthdays but that happens all year around. If you say January people will say too close to Xmas.

Like I said it can be saved all year around. I would want a £1 here and there for non uniform days etc though if a lump sum is paid at te beginning. That finding a couple of pounds each at short notice will be just as hard for some as knowing a payment is due in advance.

Several siblings at one school. Maybe a £50 donation per pupil, but if more than one then the extra is discretionary. So some with 2 children will pay £100 if they can, others £65 if easier.

I know it's tough but if you were told today, that you needed £50 on 1st September a late portion of the population could pay. A few pound put by each week.

Education is IMO more important than buying many other things that people do regularly.

Even if those v hard up can contribute a small offering it's better than nothing.

Personally I can't see free education existing in say 10 years time. Wages will need to be increased, materials on the rise, health and safety needed higher ratios, costs of running a school increase. The budget won't last forever

StuffezLaBouche Thu 07-Mar-13 17:35:45

We call ours school fund and it's 50p a week - totally voluntary. It's kind of our 'petty cash.' We are a small school of 130 or so children and not many remember, but it does help. Many parents often slightly over pay for things and say to put the rest into school fund. No obligation, however.

wonderstuff Thu 07-Mar-13 18:31:32

Forevergreek I totally disagree, £50 is an awful lot of money, people are making decisions between eating and heating, we have parents who can't afford the bus fare to get to schools some days. Of course education needs to remain free, there is no reason to suggest it won't. The current squeeze on govt spending is entirely down to reduced tax revenue following a fall in employment when the banks got into trouble, we are having difficulties because so many people were employed in financial services.

mummytime Thu 07-Mar-13 18:47:51

DCs schools have voluntary funds. I don't think they give a suggested amount, but may have a list showing how much your contribution could buy eg. £5 a month buys tissues for one class. They also used to run a 100 club at the primary.
There is also a Sainsbury's voucher scheme, where you buy vouchers for Sainsbury's shopping, and the discount instead of coming to you goes to the school.

In the US I have heard of classes displaying "wish lists" for things like pens, Pritt sticks etc.

sausagebaconandtomatobutty Thu 07-Mar-13 18:52:06

My high school used to do this when I was there 20 years ago

My dad refused to pay it and I can clearly remember being single out by my form tutor for not bringing it in and I saved up and paid it myself in all the remaining years at the school hmm

higgle Thu 07-Mar-13 18:57:22

We used to pay £5 per month by standing order, not sure what they spent it on but if everyone did that then they would have had atidy figure to pay for the extras needed. Quite frankly I'd rather send some money than get dragged into PTA cake sales, Christmas Fair etc.

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