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School want me to pay for something my child broke? Can they do this?

(144 Posts)
MaterGator Wed 26-Jun-13 19:43:36

My child broke an instrument during a music lesson at school. It's a state primary school, he's Year 2 - six years old. The school offers violin lessons as an extra. The lessons are arranged by the school, happen during the school day and are taught by an outside teacher whom bills us directly. The school purchased a small supply of violins for prospective violinists to borrow during their first term. My son came home with one of these and has had lessons for a term. There was no 'engagement letter' or hire contract etc.

He has accidentally damaged the violin and the music teacher sent it home with a note saying I had to take it to be repaired and pay for it. Can they do this? I was never told I was responsible for the instrument in this way.

If a child breaks something in the classroom parents wouldn't be asked to replace it would they? Is this different?

CaptainSweatPants Wed 26-Jun-13 19:45:07

i think it is different as it's an extra currilar activity


LaurieFairyCake Wed 26-Jun-13 19:45:18

He broke it at home though? confused

Kyrptonite Wed 26-Jun-13 19:45:49

If your child has broken it then you should pay for it.

Coconutty Wed 26-Jun-13 19:46:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lancelottie Wed 26-Jun-13 19:47:47

Seems odd that they didn't either insure them or ask the parents to insure them. For a school-standard violin that would be a couple of pounds per month.

Did he damage it at home or at school?

usualsuspect Wed 26-Jun-13 19:48:03

I don't think you should pay for it.

Surely the school must expect some breakages from 6 year olds.

CaptainSweatPants Wed 26-Jun-13 19:48:44

My child broke an instrument during a music lesson at school

he broke it at school

Jinsei Wed 26-Jun-13 19:49:52

How did you not know that you were responsible for the instrument that he was borrowing? confused If my dc was fortunate enough to be able to borrow an expensive instrument from school, I'd assume that they expected us to look after it.

What got broken and how did it happen?

Sirzy Wed 26-Jun-13 19:50:24

How did he break it?

CaterpillarCara Wed 26-Jun-13 19:51:11

I hire a school violin. I have to either insure or pay for damage. I am surprised you didn't have a contract, but don't really see why you think anyone other than you should pay. Who do you think should pay? The school? The visiting music teacher?

MaterGator Wed 26-Jun-13 19:51:38

It was damaged at school during a violin lesson.

I don't think it's up to me to pay for it though. Especially as I haven't been made aware that charges will apply for damage.

If the children break things in the classroom parents don't get billed, likewise the reading books that get sent home - have heard numerous 'dog ate it' 'spilled wine on it' etc and nobody has been asked to replace those.

Don't the school have to make parents aware if they are responsible for monies like this?

Jinsei Wed 26-Jun-13 19:52:17

Oops, missed the fact that he broke it at school in a lesson. That's a bit different then. Was it definitely accidental? If so, I don't think you should have to pay.

SanityClause Wed 26-Jun-13 19:52:51

Of course you have to pay for it.

It probably won't cost that much. Perhaps you can recoup some money from his pocket money. Children need to learn that musical instruments are not toys and need to be looked after.

Hulababy Wed 26-Jun-13 19:53:33

TBH if my child broke something like an instrument I would offer to pay for the repair. It would just be my automatic reaction to do so.

Our Y2s can have a similar situation - offered violin lessons, outside teacher, occurs in school day, supply of violins to borrow (though think they come from LA, definitely not school's ownership). But yes, the children are expected to look after them. No idea of any contract etc.

CaterpillarCara Wed 26-Jun-13 19:54:00

Well, we are not made to replace books but I always do! I don't see why school should pay for my spilt wine or books I lose. I don't bust a gut making cakes for the cake sale, etc, only to fritter the money away damaging school equipment. If my kids break it/lose it, I pay.

I do think you should have been made aware.

But surely you would:
(1) assume it to be the case anyway - who else would be responsible?
(2) want to pay anyway, as surely your children are your responsibility

youarewinning Wed 26-Jun-13 19:54:34

I had to sign to agree to pay £50 if DS broke his borrowed violin.

You need more information about how it broke imo.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 26-Jun-13 19:54:36

I hear what you're saying but surely the lessons are quite expensive?

Isn't it better (and cheaper) to repair the schools one than you having had to buy your own?

usualsuspect Wed 26-Jun-13 19:54:40

He accidently broke it at school, the school should pay.

Surely they insure musical instruments.

MaterGator Wed 26-Jun-13 19:54:48

I know I should morally pay for it, however, I have been verbally abused by the Headteacher in the past and am reluctant to put my hand in my pocket unless I am legally obliged. I know that sounds awful, but does anyone know where I stand legally?

Hulababy Wed 26-Jun-13 19:55:30

BTW we do bill for some things at our infant school.

Deliberate damage or damage caused by silly/poor behaviour may be billed for - could be anything from a book to a window.

Loss of library books - billed for or asked to provide own replacement of said book, but must be in good condition if not new.

SoupDragon Wed 26-Jun-13 19:55:55

You need to know how he broke it.

Jinsei Wed 26-Jun-13 19:55:58

TBH if my child broke something like an instrument I would offer to pay for the repair. It would just be my automatic reaction to do so.

Me too Hula

Yonihadtoask Wed 26-Jun-13 19:56:38

I would have thought got were liable to pay for it repairing.

DS has lost a couple of textbooks over the years and I have been asked to pay for them.

MaterGator Wed 26-Jun-13 19:57:32

I also spent several years raising £1000's for the PTA before being told that my awful family were responsible for keeping much more suitable children away from the school and I should help out more to compensate for this.

Usually I am a conscientious middle class person, but where the school is concerned I am now simply a taxpayer funding the school which my children have as much right to attend as any other.

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