Dinner Money Silliness(82 Posts)
DS just recently changed to school dinners and I was unsure of the correct etiquette with money etc. It costs £9.75 per week.
Sent him with a £10 note 2 consecutive weeks expecting change, none came home. 3rd week sent £10 and noted on envelope please can you give DS the change. School office phoned me to say that no, they cannot send DS or any child home with change as "it would be too much work".
I thought this rather snappy remark was interesting, and pondered how my boss would react if I started telling customers at work that I couldn't be bothered giving them correct change because there are so many of them each day it's simply too much work.
This week I have counted out £9.75 in correct change, in 10s, 5s, 2s and 1s.
I shall brace myself for a phone call!
At my sisters school, not only does she have to have correct change, but she has to do separate envelopes for each if her three children.
If I have sent in too much money for school dinners I always received change back in an envelope.
What have they done with the credit accrued on your account now?
I would send them in with the money less the 50p overpaid next week. Perhaps add a note explaining that is what you've done. At our school we always pay by cheque so it isn't an issue. We do normally have to pay for half a term in advance though.
I wouldn't worry; they'll know the running total , & it's better to be in credit than owe them!
When I asked about sending it home with DS, the receptionist said no and I didn't think to ask.
Was also 'told off' when he first started havi jg dinners because I sent him with the money but didn't give a weeks notice. Had no idea this was the case, got all the info about pricing etc from the school website, which mentioned other things but not how much notice to give or what happens with change.
Wonder if I'm wrong to assume they'd give it back, as would happen in a shop or on the bus. She really did speak to me as if I was stupid.
Suppose that's why I'm being petty!
We have to pay half a term at a time. Last week we got a letter asking if we planned to have school dinners next half term, advising us that if the form hadn't been returned before the first day of term they would need packed lunches for the half term!
To be fair, the Christmas half term I forgot to pay until a week into the half term, but putting the 2 accounts together they still owed me money at that stage.
It really annoys me that schools work on an assumption that everyone knows the "rules" somehow without anyone actually telling parents things like needing a weeks notice to having dinners.
I'd just keep a running total your self and every few weeks just send in £9 rather than a tenner. Write on the envelope how you arrived at your calculation.
This is why I love ParentPay. OP have you asked if it's possible to pay in a different way. I sympathise - they don't sound very reasonable at your school.
Based on this, I think our school is very reasonable. Our dinners are £9.75. I send in £10.00. They write it in a book. In the last week, I pop in and they tell me how much extra I have to pay. It's very easy.
I agree re: schools not telling you the rules though It took me a year to work out this!
I am sure you will not lose your 50p. It will be credited to your account and as someone else said, you can pay 50p less next time.
They were clearly not helpful and could have explained the system more clearly to you.
Don't sink to their level of retaliation though! Sending the correct money in small change really doesn't help the situation. Why make this into a fight?
How about writing a short friendly note asking for clarification about what happens in you are unable too send the correct money.
They have actually put a little bit on the bi monthly newsletter about dinners, i'm assuming there are other parents with the same confusion or it could just be because they've had to phone me lol.
I've heard about these cards you top up online, sounds like a much more convenient system. I fully expect a phone call today before I go to work complaining about all the change. Hope in they will understand how petty their calls to me have seemed.
Another mum said to me why can't you just have £9.75 ready in a fiver and £1 coins + change, it sounds simple enough but I always seem to have a couple of £10 notes in my purse!
"Another mum said to me why can't you just have £9.75 ready in a fiver and £1 coins + change, it sounds simple enough but I always seem to have a couple of £10 notes in my purse!"
The other mum is right. Keep a jar of loose change so you have it ready. It's not so onerous. Less onerous than counting out the whole amount in small change which seems unnecessarily antagonistic.
To be honest, I agree with them. If everyone sends in £10 cash each week and expects 25p change it would be a major faff. It would take more time than 25p is worth. They probably will credit your account by the whole £10 though, so you could just send in £9.50 the following week (You should check).
At our primary school they strongly encourage people to use parentpay and otherwise ask everyone to pay at the beginning of term (by cheque). It really isn't a good use of everyone's scarce time to be faffing around with 25p each week.
My ds' school recently changed policy so they no longer give change. If you send a tenner, the remainder is credited to your account - seems a lot simpler than them having to scratch around for change for 200 parents every Monday.
The policy change was announced in the newsletter, though - although I would imagine a number of people have been caught out by not having read it.
Our school has swapped to dinner cards and you can top them up in the school with any amount of change or you can top them up online. Dd has an auto top up set on hers so it automatically puts £15 on her card when the balance drops below £5 (she goes for dinners a few times a week). I top ds's up as and when as he doesn't go for as many dinners ( minimum top up online is £10 if you don't want an extra charge).
Prior to that they had to take in their money and pay the dinner ladies depending on how much they spent as it was cafeteria style so different prices depending on what you chose.
Our school takes whatever money you give them in their envelope as and when. But you don't get a receipt if you do that so I always pay online into their bank account.
Suspect loads of staff time will be saved once infants all get free lunch in Sept.
My DCs school gives change back in the envelope I sent it in. Me actually getting the change takes a little longer when it's given to DS and then languishes in his tray
I pay by cheque each week. The office split it between my DC accounts then every week send home a note saying I owe 10p or 13p or some other random amount on dc1 account. I call and tell them to look on dc2 account where there is always corresponding credit! Every bloody week, if everyone with 2+ DC has this problem the office staff must spend hours chasing and sorting their own admin errors. Apparently we are getting Parent Pay soon.
DC's school also doesn't give change (to anything - includes school trips and anything else you might have to give money for). As others have said to keep finding change (which would require the school to keep a huge bank of small coins) is an onerous task when multiplied by many. For school dinners, if you overpay the money it is credited to your account though.
As someone says upthread, we keep a change purse and put loose change in it -then we can be always sure of having the right money.
Alternativey - isn't a cheque acceptable for school dinners?
So glad we can pay online for lunches, trips, etc as long as it's over £10. It's so much easier than having to find the right change.
We pay online via Parentmail. The school doesn't accept cash unless it is under £5 and the dinner money is £10/week.
I have a jar with small change for things like charity days or baking contribution, cake sales etc.
OP, if you'd put the £9.75 in small change into a jar instead of trying to make a point, you'd be sorted for change for weeks.
Every other parent in the school presumably manages without pulling attention-seeking stunts.
You are supposed to be the grown-up, not a drama loving 12 year old.
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