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Cost of trips at secondary school

(65 Posts)
LovelyBath Fri 29-Jan-16 10:49:12

OK so it looks great, the local secondary school. However it does have very expensive trips etc. I know I should be grateful as it's a state school and has lots of opportunities etc etc. BUT I'm a bit worried about how much it's all going to cost. Apparently most of the after school clubs are free at secondary though so I suppose that's good.

To be honest some of the trips don't sound exactly necessary, but I guess if they didn't go on it they'd be well, left behind (which I suppose might be a lesson that we can't always do as we wish)

When we looked around I asked the boy showing our group around about the trips. What happens, about the trips costing a lot? He told me, well the ones who can afford it go and the others don't. I'm not sure how true this is or if there is some sort of a fund to help people.

I would have thought it might be better to have some sort of fund raising for charitable type trips maybe but the ones which were described were ones like:

A trip to (somewhere hot can't remember) to go snorkelling
A ski trip to the USA which cost thousands
Geography trip to Iceland

They have trips every year apparently so you can see that with more than one child this could add up!

Any thoughts? You might think, well don't send him there but it has a great reputation and it's our local school. Other options would mean a costly bus pass, which again I'm too stingy to want to do.

deepdarkwood Fri 29-Jan-16 10:52:54

I would check this out with the school itself - both in terms of how many there are, what year/s they are in, and how 'educational/part of the school learning experience they are. I'm sure there will also be support for those on low incomes - at least for those that are educational.

Ime ski trips are likely to be un-educational/go if you fancy it type. So very easy not to go if money is tight. Snorkelling sounds similar. Iceland sounds to me more likely to be a 6th form/geog A level type.

So you may well find that actually there are fewer/many of them are only open to some anyway.

BertPuttocks Fri 29-Jan-16 10:58:52

My DS' school has similar trips but only a tiny minority of the students actually go on them.

A recent skiing trip was offered to three different year groups (so several hundred students). I think about twenty students actually went, and that was after repeatedly extending the deadline to apply.

The trips that are actually related to school work tend to be much cheaper so that as many people as possible can go. Those tend to be just day-trips.

Other big trips (eg exchange trips) are organised so that the students who go on them help to raise a certain percentage of the funds themselves.

My DS hasn't gone on any of the big trips and it's made absolutely no difference to how he gets on at school.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 29-Jan-16 11:04:47

Our school are doing a 2 centre trip to China for £3,500 hmm

I think that's quite expensive for a 14 yr old.

HarrietSchulenberg Fri 29-Jan-16 11:13:08

If it's anything like the school my children go to, boy you spoke with is right. There are lots of expensive trips and those who can afford it go on them. Some kids go skiing, watersporting etc, all costing upwards of £600. Watersports is 7 days for £900. Cheaper trips are around the £400 mark. Ds2 is going to London for 4 days in the summer for £450, which has been split out over several months but we're still behind with payments. About 50% of kids do these trips and it's the same ones every time.

Don't get me started on Activities Week in July. £15 just to be in school, to "cover costs" of cheap activities run by normal teaching staff. Plus extra for any trips out, eg £20 for Drayton Manor etc. Kids don't have to go on the day trips but they have a shit time if they're left in school when the rest of the year are rollercoastering (or sodding waterskiing in the Ardeche). Attendance during Activities Week is compulsory, as is the £15 payment, which you are hounded mercilessly for. Think emails, letters, phone calls home.

Help is available only to those on Free School Meals as it comes from Pupil Premium money as enrichment. Low income/working tax credits etc get no help at all. PP children go for free. Very unfair, I feel, and it actually disadvantages children from low income backrounds (like my children).

Brace yourself for an expensive ride!

BigginsforPope Fri 29-Jan-16 11:13:52

IME the essential trips at DD's school are heavily subsidised and the "fun" trips are not. This year she is going to Germany for £420 but it is not an essential trip.

titchy Fri 29-Jan-16 11:24:49

Local day trips - most kids will go, and there will be a fund for those struggling with the cost. The trips abroad will only be attended by maybe half the year group, with again some funding for those that struggle (eg pupil premium funding may support those on FSM to go).

but certainly there is no expectation that the entire year group will go abraod like there is at primary. For one thing no airline or hotel provider would probaby be able to accommodate 200 kids plus 20 staff!

Plus once they get to year 10 or 11 any trips will be for those doing that subject at GCSE.

LovelyBath Fri 29-Jan-16 11:25:29

Thanks for the replies. Harriet wonder if it's the same school?! Haha I got the feeling most do go on the trips. In fact I think quite a few parents are wealthy enough to pay for private but choose this school instead and then have the money for the trips if you see what I mean. It is a state school but takes paying boarders I believe.

FairiesAreReal Fri 29-Jan-16 11:32:53

Agree with BertPuttocks our school residential trips only ever seem to have around 40 places, when there are over 200 children per year! So most don't go confused
If you like the school, I certainly wouldn't let it be a deal-breaker for you.

TeenAndTween Fri 29-Jan-16 14:11:41

At DD's school there are a variety of trips at a variety of prices.

Some children do none.
A few do any trip they can get their hands on.
Other children do one or 2 trips.

No one is 'left out' because for any one trip the majority don't go on it.

BleakHill Fri 29-Jan-16 14:24:56

I organize trips in a school. At our school only a very small percentage of children go on most residential or day trips - except those that form part of an 'activity week' or those that are compulsory for the subject, eg Geography. We take into consideration who has been on previous trips when offering places. And everyone is invited to write to a named person should they be in financial difficulty - there are always some children on each trip who have received support.

LovelyBath Fri 29-Jan-16 16:12:12

Just had a look on the school website to see what it says about the trips. It just says this, so no idea of numbers etc. They aren't that sporty so that might cut some of them out.

"During their time at School the children will be offered skiing visits to Europe and the United States, projects in Lesotho or South Africa, sporting tours to Devon, South Africa and the Caribbean, together with language exchanges to Italy, France, Spain and Germany. These opportunities are supplemented by an array of experiences which they will remember for many years to come, led by staff who are passionate about the positive effects of such activities."

Hotpatootietimewarp Fri 29-Jan-16 16:24:16

When I was at secondary school 10 years ago there were 2 expensive trips offered in the 6 years I was there, one was a ski trip for around £1,000, I wasn't allowed to go on that one and very few actually did but in a school that size you didn't notice. The second was a trip to America , same price roughly, which my sister desperately wanted to go on so my parents paid some and my sister paid the rest from her part time job.

The only residential I went on was the battlefields trip that was £250 but was educational so my parents paid for that.

I will probably take this stance with mine once they are there as I have 3 children so would cost a fortune if they got to go on every single one they wanted

LovelyBath Fri 29-Jan-16 16:25:43

I think they said when we looked round there was at least a trip a year

anyquestions1 Fri 29-Jan-16 18:44:43

OP, I think you should:

(a) ask the school for details of trips that the vast majority of people in the year group go on, and approximate cost. You might want to ask about any other trips further up the school that are pretty much compulsory for those doing a particular subject (eg geography field trips) and the approximate cost of those;

(b) re trips that are optional, consider what trips you are willing and able to pay for and then have an upfront conversation with your children to set ground rules in advance and manage expectations, whether that's, "I won't be able to pay for any non-compulsory trips", or "I'll pay up to £X per year" , or "I'll pay up to £X for a trip that I consider to be genuinely educational, but I won't pay for a trip that's essentially a holiday".

If setting a fixed budget, be clear as to whether the cost of equipment for the trip comes out of the budget, eg the cost of ski wear can add up <speaks from experience>.

LovelyBath Sat 30-Jan-16 15:34:16

OK thanks. I will do that. It might make it a bit more manageable and easier to plan for, if we know that.

lljkk Sat 30-Jan-16 16:07:36

Make up your mind in advance which trips you would never pay for, which you might pay for some yrs not others, and which you can always cough up for. DD is banned from skiing & NYCity, and only got to go on one of the expensive London trips. I'd love her to go Iceland if I could wrestle a parent-helper place too but no interest, boohoo.

AlpacaLypse Sat 30-Jan-16 16:19:38

Whoever said help is only available to families on FSMs is wrong, certainly in this county. Support is available for any family on a low income. Basically if you're getting tax credits, it's worth asking. When my business was hit like a ton of bricks by the recession I asked for and received help with uniform, the exchange trips to France and Germany, and a couple of other trips too. I did think it would be taking the piss to ask for help with the Watersports/Skiing type trips though, thankfully none of them were that bothered. Oh, and the fund also paid the registration fees etc for Duke of Edinburgh.

goinggetstough Sat 30-Jan-16 16:47:05

OP I know the school you are talking about. Some of those trips are only for the sixth form and the USA ski trip doesn't take place every year. All pupils do not go on all the trips. The popular trips are the language ones eg the year 7 trip to France. There were still pupils who didn't go and continued on normally at school.

clary Sat 30-Jan-16 17:39:47

My kids' school runs lots of trips.

They go on some, they don't go on others. It's fine OP, please don't stress about it.

IME it's not like primary where everyone goes. In fact everyone usually can't go (in terms of space available).

DS2 came home with a letter about a trip to ski in USA a year ago (no discernible educational value btw) - it cost £1300. Errr no. Most kids won't be able to afford that and won't go. They will just have normal lessons with some students missing or classes are sometimes collapsed together and do more general work. That's what happens at the school where I work too.

FWIW all my 3 went on the year 7/8 language trip as I am a big fan of that; DD does music and drama GCSEs and has been on a couple of inexpensive trips to see plays/concerts for those.

Makemineacabsauv Sat 30-Jan-16 19:39:07

I've told both my DC that they get one big trip funded by me but it must be around £500-£600 mark. Ds has opted to wait till S4 for the battlefields trip but dd is blowing it on a ridiculously expensive trip to London - we used to live near London and she's done all the things on the itinerary - eg Harry Potter world. Any other big trips they need to save for! I will pay for day trips and educational ones. Am a single parent and just can't afford it. Most of their friends are the same but one of my friends lets her DC choose 1 trip a year and it's usually skiing although her did is going to Morocco this year. Their budget their choice, but most children don't do that many.

LongHardStare Sat 30-Jan-16 19:55:04

The fact that they have many trips makes it much easier if you can't afford them I think. You won't get all the kids going on any one trip so it is less noticeable and no big deal not to go on any particular trip. If the sum total is that the DC don't really go on any trips (other than the compulsory / core curriculum ones which will I suspect be few and affordable) it will be far less of a big deal than in a school with just one big fun expenive trip every year or two. In the second scenario DC are likely to feel left out and maybe ostracised for not going. That's my experience with DS who has been at both types of school.

I don't think you should let it interfere with your decision about whether to send your DC there anyway. It is quite a small issue in the scheme of things given how many years your DC will be spending in the place.

RalphSteadmansEye Sun 31-Jan-16 10:05:10

Honestly, it's really, really not an issue.

Secondary school trips tend to have something like 20-30 places and are maybe open to up to three year groups at once. That could be 600 kids. Nobody cares who does or doesn't get one of the few places there are.

There might be one semi-compulsory team-building type trip in yr 7 or 8 but they tend to be cheap and local ish so much more affordable and, even then, there will be some kids who still don't go and, hopefully, help for those who want to go and can't.

PolovesTubbyCustard Sun 31-Jan-16 10:10:59

DS is now in Y13 - so the trips are all behind him.

But he didn't go on every trip offered.

I think he went on two abroad - a short week to northern France (history) and a week in Iceland (geography). He loved both of those - and in particular Iceland - as it was very interesting, and was unlikely to be taken there by me (I prefer warmer holidays )

He didn't even bring home the letters about the ski-ing - as not interested, and another couple that he just didn't fancy. Plus we had discussed that there was a limit of sorts and that he wouldn't be able to do them all.

I think the main important trip was the 3 day residential at the start of Y7. This wasn't very pricey - and was strongly encouraged by school to attend. The kids at DS' school were from a very wide catchment area (selective grammar) so very few actually knew anyone else onthe first day. This trip was to get them all to bond.

BabyGanoush Sun 31-Jan-16 10:26:33

I signed DS up for 3 trips

He got in for 1 of them.

There aren't many trips where "everyone" goes.

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