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Fees for field trips

(49 Posts)
PastSellByDate Tue 07-May-13 13:46:16

Hello all:

A few of us are noticing that the fees set out in letters to parents at our school across several different years don't quite match published school visit fees on the websites of the venues our school is visiting.

Now we range from extreme skepticism (for which read me) to those who feel there must be a logical explanation (maybe charging a bit more to then buy all the children a treat or something).

However, all of us remain deeply confused as to whether schools can make a profit off of field trips or not? The overcharging isn't huge from 30p to up to £1 per child - but our concern is this will of course add up over 3 excursions per school year and 7 years of pupils.

Does anyone know if a school is in the wrong to charge an individual child more than the actual value of their participation in a school trip?

Is it the case that we fee paying parents are subsidising those who don't and it's just that nobody has explained that outright to us?

We'd be grateful if you are a governor or teacher in a school and can explain this situation at our school.

scaevola Tue 07-May-13 13:49:40

If you're being charged only a tiny bit over the headline price, then your school has secured a simply marvellous deal on transport costs and should be congratulated on keeping the price down.

poshme Tue 07-May-13 13:51:32

School trips can need extra insurance. It costs money.

Seeline Tue 07-May-13 13:51:48

Schools are not allowed to run trips at a profit.
Have you taken into account travel costs?
Perhaps there is a bit extra charged for a workshop/tour etc?
Do schools have to pay insurance for each trip?

mrs2cats Tue 07-May-13 13:53:25

I'm not a governor or a teacher in a school but I do know that when my children's school sends out letter with fees they always make clear that it's not just the cost of entry to a venue but that the charge also covers the coach and also the cost of extra adults to ensure a proper adult:child ration i.e. travel and entry cost for the adults. In one letter they even stated that the extra cost was to cover the cost of supply staff that would be needed to cover the absence of staff who were going on the trip! In that particular case it was clear that it was a voluntary donation of £x for the trip plus another voluntary donation of £x to cover supply staff.

Maybe your school needs to be clearer about what any extra charges are for?

soapboxqueen Tue 07-May-13 14:43:15

Schools cannot make a profit from a trip and they cannot charge extra to cover children who do not pay. If a child does not pay they cannot be refused a place on the trip either (unless it is a residential trip). The short fall must be made up from school funds or the whole trip cancelled.

It is not just the cost of entry that needs to be covered as others have suggested. Transport and sufficient adult supervision also needs to be paid for. Sometimes venues charge extra for schools as they put on workshops or other activities not available to the general public.

If you are unsure about costs, ask. I usually give a breakdown so parents know where the money is going. Remember that the money requested is a voluntary contributions not a fee.

PastSellByDate Tue 07-May-13 14:47:11

Dear all:

Sorry should have spelled out that they have itemized transport fees and insurance for every trip - some trips have no transport because they are on foot.

The overcharge is between the entrance fee the school is reporting and the published entrance fee for school visits/ performances at various venues.

As far as we understand - no additional purchase of treat or sweets has been made on field trips that have gone ahead with the overcharged entrance/ performance fees (children were quizzed afterwards).


soapboxqueen Tue 07-May-13 14:50:23

Then I think you need to ask. As I said they can't make a profit but should quickly be able to tell you why there is a difference.

Chopchopbusybusy Tue 07-May-13 14:56:30

As far as I am aware schools are not allowed to charge more than the cost even if it is to subsidise the cost for those unable to afford It.
An overcharge of 30p per trip, assuming 3 per year for 7 years is £6.30 and worst case scenario according to your figures is £21 over 7 years.
I know some people do struggle to pay for school trips but are the above figures really a huge concern for you?

PastSellByDate Tue 07-May-13 15:45:28

Hi Chochobusybusy:

This is one school year

Entire school trip to play - overcharged pupils by £1.10 each (210 pupils attending) = £231

KS1 trip to museum - overcharged 60 pupils £0.55 = £18.15

KS2 trip to recreational venue - overcharged 30 pupils by 35p each = £10.50

KS2 trip to museum - overcharged 30 pupils by £0.85 each = £25.50

KS1 in school visit (performance) - overcharged pupils by 55p each - 60 pupils = £33

Total on just this (where we have ticket stubs/ etc.. to substantiate overcharge) = £307.65

Individually of course this is small change - but it adds up and in fact we suspect the figure per year is roughly double this amount.

Chopchopbusybusy Tue 07-May-13 15:54:34

Well ask the school then. The cost per child over 7 years is between £6 and £21. I really couldn't get wound up about that. You 'quizzed' the children? Really? You wonder if you as the 'fee paying' parents are subsidising the parents with less ready cash. Would that be such a bad thing?
If you really are that bothered then you need to ask but I doubt the teachers are quaffing Bollinger on the proceeds, more likely it goes in the slush fund for the benefit of the pupils.
I know my reply is quite harsh but I think you are over thinking the whole thing.

paneer Tue 07-May-13 15:59:30

Could it be a little extra to cover the costs of the children from families who really cannot afford the trips?

And the teachers, TAs and parent helpers - to cover their entry and travel?

Freddiemisagreatshag Tue 07-May-13 16:02:01

I would suspect there's an additional cost to pay for children whose families cannot afford for them to go unless the school pick up the tab.

pooka Tue 07-May-13 16:08:01

I think you sound a tad unhinged to be questioning an overcharge of 55 pence per child!

Honestly - how much did your finding out the information, the time spent (if you were doing billable hours set up) in discussing and considering the charges, cost you?

Ay excess most likely covers expenses for teachers or parent helpers, in terms of admission or of travel costs. Or maybe the extra £10 means that the school can fund families who cannot afford the voluntary contribution for that particular trip? or the cost of letters re:the trip. Or whatever.

The sums you've quoted aren't suggesting widespread fraud to me.

pooka Tue 07-May-13 16:09:31

What it actually makes me think is really - do you hate the school so much that you trust them with nothing and put nothing beyond them?

wws Tue 07-May-13 16:13:54

Transport costs can be a lot and published fees for schools etc often depend on certain numbers of pupils. If less the
Cost per pupil may be higher. Like the others I seriously doubt school are overcharging so they can make a profit.

Wellthen Tue 07-May-13 21:45:49

Its a voluntary contribution. Contribute the price of the venue and no more if you're that bothered.

Possibly yes they are rounding up a little to cover kids who don't pay. Is 30p-£1 more a trip really worth having the whole trip cancelled? The school are not allowed to make a profit but they must cover the costs of the trip through contributions. If not all contribute then the amount asked for goes up.

Sorry but you sound hugely ungrateful and selfish.

QueenofLouisiana Tue 07-May-13 22:36:45

Planning a trip this week for 50 children. In order to maintain our ratios we are taking 7 adults with us. Quotes for the bus range from £265 to £480! The trip will take about 45 minutes each way, travelling out of peak time (avoiding times when buses are used for school transport).

I teach in a rural county, so no chance of walking or public transport. We also need to pay for the cost of sending staff out on a visit in order to do risk assessments, parking for bus etc.

However, the children will get a lot out of the experience so we hope parents understand we have to cover our costs.

mumnosbest Tue 07-May-13 22:41:50

Maybe it covers the cost of adults/volunteers

Restorer Tue 07-May-13 22:52:28

Schools are not allowed to make a profit out of trips and they're not allowed to charge paying children extra to cover the costs of those who can't/won't pay.

They are allowed (as you'd expect) to charge enough to cover the whole cost of the trip. Some free adult places are usually included, but in most cases, to keep children safe and to make sure the trip runs smoothly, extra adults will go, and the cost of their entrance will be added to the fees paid by parents.

If you really believe the school is making a significant profit, you should ask for clarification.

And after typing this, I've realised you're talking about pennies. The play will definitely have extra adult ticket to pay for, everything else is just rounding to make the payment process easier. Parents would think we were mad if we charged £18.15 for a trip and imagine the nightmare of finding change for everyone. If it really bothers you, just pay what you think you owe, or deduct it from the amount you normally spend at the school fete.

Any (small) profit will go into the school fund for the benefit of all children.

Who is "we"?

PatriciaHolm Wed 08-May-13 10:29:18

The kind of amounts there look very much like the additional cost of a few more adult entrance fees to venues. Maybe 1 adult in 10 will be free, but most schools would take more than that, so I suspect that is what is happening - its the cost of those extra adults spread over the number of people who are going. They really aren't all sitting in the staffroom laughing about how they are making you all pay for their tea and biscuits, you know...

DeWe Wed 08-May-13 11:10:04

I can't believe anyone would really go and work that sort of thing out. hmm
£300, or even £600 would be such a small part of the school's budget anyway.

Rather than ask the children to bring their own money, sometimes our school buys them all the same badge or something.
But it's probably extra adults.

NynaevesSister Wed 08-May-13 20:02:35

Blinking heck! Do you have wider issues With management at the school? Do you think it is skimming for the staff Xmas party? Or do you think it is just rounding to make the payment easier? If latter then it will all go on the kids anyway!

The school can only ask for a voluntary contribution btw. If the trip is part of the curriculum they are obliged to take all children regardless of whether they have paid. However of too many parents don't pay then they may have to cut back on trips and it is the kids who miss out.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 08-May-13 20:10:34


breatheslowly Wed 08-May-13 20:11:18

The canny teachers have worked out a way of skimming the spare 1/2p from each child per trip and are siphoning it off into offshore accounts, hence the row of Aston Martins in the car park. Or perhaps that is the plot of a film.

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