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Do you pay for your child to play on a state school sport's team?

(43 Posts)
RefuseToWorry Mon 20-Jul-15 17:35:51

We received two identical letters today: one addressed to the parents of DD, one addressed to the parents of DS - both letters were from their school PE department (in a local state comprehensive, now an academy).

The letters informed us that, from September, there would be a 'voluntary contribution' to pay for our children to travel to/from inter-school sports' fixtures. We were asked for £10 per child, per sport, per term to, "reduce the burden of costs on the PE and Sport Faculty and ensure that we can continue to provide regular opportunities to play against other schools." This would have cost our family £190 last year.

Whatever happened to 'Sport For All'?

senua Mon 20-Jul-15 17:47:27

That is awful.shock
I suggest that you tell them that they are in competition with the local sports clubs that your DC attend. Your Dc will now need an appearance fee (of £15 per sport per term) to persuade them to favour school over club.

The term 'own goal' springs to mind.grin

Leeds2 Mon 20-Jul-15 17:53:24

I have never heard of this.

camptownraces Mon 20-Jul-15 19:21:09

It's voluntary, so you don't have to contribute.

However, schools' funding has diminished. It's probably a choice for the school between having proper equipment to enable PE for all (which they are obliged to provide) or funding coaches to take kids to away matches. Am assuming this is not the whole school taking part in district sports? Coach hire is in fact quite expensive.

A parent not contributing probably won't affect the chance of the child being selected for the team, though.

£10 per term should fund "voluntary contributions" for over six kids for a year, unless they are running cricket and tennis in the winter, or netball and football in the summer.

Ladymuck Mon 20-Jul-15 21:00:00

I guess my reaction would depend on what other fundraising has been considered. Do they try to raise funds through Sainsbury vouchers? Do the teams perform well enough to look for local sponsors? Are the teams really made up of all abilities, so for some kids this would be their only chance to compete in a team sport, or are the teams made up of those kids who would have the option of playing for clubs?

For most schools salary costs will be around 80-90% of their revenue costs. In September there is an increase in NI costs for schools amounting to over 3% per annum. For a 1,000 pupil secondary school this will be an additional cost of at least £120k a year. The government have told schools that they will receive no additional funding to cover this - they have to meet the costs themselves.

At the same time the number of Government initiatives focussing on certain favoured subjects means Heads look carefully at which areas get the cuts. A recent announcement about new year 7s having to sit the Ebacc subjects means that, for example, our local comp now have to make a MFL compulsory at GCSE for all of our pupils (currently a 70-80% takeup), so have to increase the amount of MFL teaching. Without an increase in the overall budget a non-Ebacc subject is likely to get hit (they've just had to drop 2 non-Ebacc GCSEs this year to manage the above NI cost increase - other schools have to prioritise elsewhere).

If the school is an academy then you can look at their accounts online.

RefuseToWorry Mon 20-Jul-15 22:09:49

The contribution of £10 for each child, for each team they are playing in, for each term they play for a team, is being requested for local events, not year group/ whole school coach trips. If a child plays for the football and rugby teams in the Autumn and Spring term and the cricket team in the Summer, the cost would be £50).

It's voluntary, so you don't have to contribute.
True enough, but potentially divisive (if a small group ends up paying the way for those who decide not to). Also, I can imagine the children of parents who pay would, understandably, be more likely to be chosen for the team.

Do they try to raise funds through Sainsbury vouchers?
Not that I know of.

Do the teams perform well enough to look for local sponsors?
Sadly, no.

Are the teams really made up of all abilities...
At the moment, yes.

ISingSoprano Tue 21-Jul-15 19:25:05

When ds and dd were at secondary school (academy) we paid match fees for away games. Usually £2-3 per match. I guess that probably equates to £10 per term.

WhattodowithMum Tue 21-Jul-15 19:41:52

Our state primary does not ask for money, but neither does our state primary provide transportation. SAHPs do all the transporting. Sometimes children of working parents miss out, I notice.

No134 Tue 21-Jul-15 19:46:32

Standard for sports clubs, not okay for a school IMO and ime.

angelinterceptor Tue 21-Jul-15 19:58:52

Not my DC school but a nearby school charge a larger amoun per child for sports clubs/teams.

Emochild Tue 21-Jul-15 21:11:34

Primary school parents are expected to transport -sometimes the teachers will take some who can't get there any other way but the preference is always for the parents to do it

High school it's £1 voluntary contribution per away game so if they don't play you don't pay
Away matches tend to be about 12 miles for rugby so it won't cover the actual cost of the minibus petrol so i'm not sure why its a pound -but it's much cheaper than me doing a 24 mile round trip so I won't complain

woodlands01 Tue 21-Jul-15 22:03:14

My children's secondary (outstanding academy) does this. I pay for son who does lots of sports but not daughter who doesn't compete in team sports at all. I am grateful for PE staff transporting the children using the school minibus and giving the children the opportunity to compete. I am also grateful not to be asked to transport numerous children to events as we were in primary.
However, our 'outstanding' academy has a reputation for charging for (some) after-school sports clubs, so I am not surprised by them asking for money.
I also know teachers who work there who are unable to print resources due to budgetary restrictions so I know the money issues are 'real'.
All requests are termed 'voluntary' contributions - I do contribute - I am grateful my children have such a good school with committed staff. However, I do match my contributions with how much my children get from the activity, I don't have a bottomless pit of money by any means.

BackforGood Wed 22-Jul-15 21:32:49

I'd much rather pay a couple of quid a trip for them to be transported there in the minibus, than have to take time off work and then ferry them around myself.
I suppose it depends how they fund the minibuses otherwise - do you pay and annual contribution to 'school fund'; or take part in a monthly '50:50 Club: ? ; or regularly support PTA events to raise the money for the minibus running costs (and always beginning to start the saving towards the replacement van when this one gets too old) ?
Or do you think it runs on air?

I think it's perfectly reasonable to charge the people who get the most use out of the transport, the cost of running it.

Bunbaker Wed 22-Jul-15 22:14:21

"However, schools' funding has diminished."

This ^ ^.

The government cuts have affected all areas of school activities and without those contributions the school may not be able to afford to play matches against other schools unless parents help out with transport.

Don't blame the school, blame the government

intheenddotcom Thu 23-Jul-15 12:05:33

It may very well be the case that if they don't get the money they will not be able to afford to take the kids.

MoreBeta Thu 23-Jul-15 12:12:39

I pay for my children's education in a private school but am beyond gobsmacked that parents are increasingly 'paying' for elements of state school education and frankly I think it is appalling.

MoreBeta Thu 23-Jul-15 12:15:18

By the way I do pay an extra £190 per annum for DS1 to be taken to rowing regattas which usually involves multiple trailers for the boats and minibuses for crews as well as trucks to haul the trailers.

Rowing I an extremely expensive sport when all the equipment is taken into account so seems fair but simple tea sports no way I would pay extra.


MoreBeta Thu 23-Jul-15 12:15:46

tea = team

ReallyTired Thu 23-Jul-15 12:28:31

I don't think it unreasonable to expect parents to pay for transport costs, provided that pupil premium children get their costs paid for. £10 a term is really nothing for what is an extra curricular activity. The activity is still heavily subsidised.

"This would have cost our family £190 last year."

Is that really that unreasonable. Unless your kids are on free school meals, I don't think that its a shocking amount if they do a lot of sport.

Often children who do well at sport, music or acting come from families that are privilaged to start off with. For example Dd got exceeding expectations for PE in her year 1 report. She has the advantage that her parents can afford for her to have swimming lessons, gymnastics and has the time in the morning to walk to school. Children without the same opportunities as her are less fit and less likely to get on the school teams.

I would rather state funding went into sorting out overweight and seriously unfit children. Children who fail fitness tests should be forced to do extra PE after school five times a week. Sorting out obcesity would save the NHS thousands and ensure that these overweight children become adults who are fit to work.

BackforGood Thu 23-Jul-15 14:41:25

Yes, good point ReallyTired.

In effect, your dc are getting a whole term's worth of coaching and competitive sport for £10 for the whole term.
Sadly, because my dd's school doesn't provide much of that, we have had to arrange to go outside of school and form a team for her to play in, in a league, on a Saturday morning. this costs £15 per month, plus of course I have to drive her to all the matches (some up to an hour away), week in, week out.
I'd MUCH rather they had a competitive football team at her school so I only had to contribute < £1 per week for transport and not get up every Saturday morning

Bunbaker Thu 23-Jul-15 17:29:57

It is appalling MoreBeta, but state schools these days are seriously underfunded these days. I know, I am on the finance committee of a successful comprehensive school that is the most underfunded in our LA. The struggling schools in the LA can't even spend all their budget, yet my school is losing experienced teachers and employing more NQTs because they can't afford to pay them.

ReallyTired Thu 23-Jul-15 21:04:47

It is utter bollux that there are struggling schools that cannot spend their budgets. Such schools tends to have hoards of children with high needs.

Schools are expected to be more accountable and show that the money being spent is making a difference. Should the budget if the pe department go on over weight kids or the gifted and talented? Which group will free coaching make the biggest difference to long term?

MoreBeta Thu 23-Jul-15 22:52:54

Bunbaker - I seem to recall (possibly from an mN thread) that LEAs deliberately starve schools of funds that have an intake from relatively well of areas because they know that parents are more likely to be willing to make 'voluntary contributions. They know that if they try it in a socially deprived area with less engaged parents that they will get no 'voluntary contributions.

I really do believe some politically motivated LEAs will do that quite cynically.

Bunbaker Thu 23-Jul-15 22:55:57

The school hasn't asked parents for any donations so far and, as far as I know, they don't plan to.

However, I think you may be right about the LEA because generally the intake is from a relatively well off part of the borough.

ReallyTired Thu 23-Jul-15 23:17:40

"Bunbaker - I seem to recall (possibly from an mN thread) that LEAs deliberately starve schools of funds that have an intake from relatively well of areas because they know that parents are more likely to be willing to make 'voluntary contributions."

hmm really?

Schools in affluent areas are not starved of money at all. Schools in areas of high deprivation get more funding because they have a lot of pupil premium pupils. It is well known that children from low income families are statistically at a disadvantage. Certainly middle class families are not stampeding to the door of these better funded schools in areas of deprivation.

Most secondary schools are now academies and funding comes direct from government. The lea has no power to set funding.

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