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Primary reference

(21 Posts)
amainaledi Mon 06-Dec-10 19:54:35

My daughter is at a State primary, in Y6. She has applied to 7 independent schools all of which will require references from her current school. Her school charges £10 per reference, even though exactly the same letter is sent out. is this standard practice?
her current school says "We should remind you that we will be unable to supply a reference until we receive your payment". Is this even legal?

kanchan Mon 06-Dec-10 20:14:18

Teachers and school office staff have enough work on their hands. Writing a reference and going through the process of typing it up and sending it requires time which means money. It is fair that you should pay.

ChoudeBruxelles Mon 06-Dec-10 20:15:09

Can't they write one and you get a copy of it to forward to the other schools?

amainaledi Mon 06-Dec-10 20:38:35

My point is, once it is written and in the system, someone just has to press print and put in an envelope. I'd be happy to pay for postage and printing and even the time it takes to do those small tasks, but surely it wouldn't come to more than a couple of quid? In a work environment, if one was asked to pay for a reference wouldn't that be a bit dodgy? At which point does the amount paid affect the reference given?

zanzibarmum Mon 06-Dec-10 20:55:01

that is outrageous. tell the school you are applying to and refuse to pay.

Milliways Mon 06-Dec-10 21:45:22

Would they charge if it was for a state Grammar? Our primary did not charge for that - although they were desperate to have pupils get in & boost their ratings.

EvilTwinsAteRudolph Mon 06-Dec-10 21:47:51

I used to teach in a state secondary which charged a tenner if you wanted a teacher to fill in your child's passport form. I used to tell my tutor group to bring it straight to me and by-pass the office.

Seems a bit steep to charge per copy - could they not do one and give it to you (and charge just once) then you can take responsibility for copying and posting it?

ronshar Mon 06-Dec-10 21:54:43

We have had two references. No mention of payment. I would have told them to stick it up their noses!!
Good luck to your DD.

PinkElephantsOnParade Mon 06-Dec-10 23:01:37

Seven is quite a lot of applications.

Is it strictly necessary?

mummytime Tue 07-Dec-10 09:48:50

Ummm, well around here the references would have to be individual for each school, as they want different things. Also the cost in time is more like £40. Seven schools does seem excessive, don't they charge you to sit entrance exams as well? They do here, at least partly to keep people only applying for the schools they really want.

PinkElephantsOnParade Tue 07-Dec-10 10:09:56

OP, have you actually identified those schools you think would be best for your DD and which she would have a good chance of getting into?

I hope you are not putting her in for schools that she would not have much chance of getting into as that will be incredibly demoralising for her.

Going for 7 entrance exams seems to be a bit of a random scatter gun approach and incredibly stressful for your DD.

singersgirl Tue 07-Dec-10 10:45:19

Here the private secondary schools won't accept a standard reference - our primary has asked. So each school asks a slightly different set of questions phrased in a slightly different way. The primary used to do them for free, but in Y6 there are typically 20-25 children sitting an average of 4 schools each; in the worst case that would be 100 individual references. The school has recently introduced a charging policy, and will do the first ref per child free but charges for each subsequent one.

TBH it's quite reasonable as they have to pay to cover the teachers' time.

PollyParanoia Tue 07-Dec-10 10:55:29

Don't most private schools (certainly the preps around here) charge upwards of £70 to put your child's name down. Presumably secondary schools do the same and presumably you've paid them? It seems a bit strange to be contemplating paying 12k a year in school fears and whining over £70 for this admin.

PinkElephantsOnParade Tue 07-Dec-10 11:20:48

Polly - "schoolfears" - very appropriate! smile

PollyParanoia Tue 07-Dec-10 12:22:28

Yes v freudian! Fear of your kid failing at state, fear of how you're going to pay for the fees, fear of them not getting into one of the seven you've applied for... arggh I'm very full of school fears (and short on school fees)

MrsGuyOfChristmasBorn Tue 07-Dec-10 14:40:10

Not excessive - as an earlier poster said it is probably not just your DD, and even if it is the same [hmmm] someone has to roint, put in envelope, address, post, so actaully seems quite reasonable. And in the context of the fees you will be paying (and the extras!)is a small sum. Did you no t hav t pay registration and exam fees at those schools? Bet they were a lot more than £10 each.

PinkElephantsOnParade Wed 08-Dec-10 09:45:54

You wouldn't be paying £70 if you weren't putting your DD through SEVEN entrance exams.

Sorry , I think that's excessive and is putting your DD under too much pressure.

amainaledi Thu 09-Dec-10 19:19:50

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to this discussion about state schools charging for references. My own research has now shown that this is not legal.
I was really surprised at how judgemental many of the replies were.I turned to Mumsnet hoping to find a nurturing supportive forum and am very grateful to those of you who were.
Obviously, the women who needed to judge don't have the full back ground, which I will give you in very potted form, as clearly the "plight" of my daughter deeply upset you.
We live in inner London, where competition for school places is fierce. 7 is about an average number to apply for. Luckily, the schools have formed a consortium, divided into 2, so actually my daughter will be sitting just 2 exams. We were lucky enough to get a grant from a charity to fund the majority of the exam application fees, and have applied for means tested bursaries at all the schools.
However, this post was never about the money, it was about the legality of an institution, any institution, refusing to release a reference until money has been handed over.
Anything other than apathy though - how great it is that people contribute, even if they feel they need to attack, rather than sit back and say nothing at all.

PinkElephantsOnParade Thu 09-Dec-10 23:43:49

ama - most people putting in 7 applications would be sitting 7 entrance exams, that is why I was shock

2 is a much more sensible and manageable number.

TBH, I think YABU to object to paying these reference fees as they do involve admin and ALL institutions giving references etc demand these fees.

My DDs GP demanded £20 to write a letter saying she was physically fit enough to be allowed a performance licence. I thought that was a bit steep. And they would not release this without payment in cash.

This is certainly not unusual.

Needmoresleep Sun 12-Dec-10 18:48:27

I sympathise. Five applications is the norm, even for the very able, and many do more. (My daughter did 2 state and 5 indie.) These schools will be only taking one in five or one in 10. Tougher if you also need a large bursary, and apart from a few exceptions, the state options in Central London are not great.

That said most kids take in their stride, and the schools do their best to keep them relaxed.

On paying for the report, I would be inclined to keep quiet, at least until the report is written and sent. After all you don't want to upset anyone at this point. You could then say you have checked and ask for your money back.

PinkElephantsOnParade Mon 13-Dec-10 10:25:20

Wow, I am amazed that this number of applications is the norm in your area.

Certainly isn't here.

Poor DCs.

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