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Do schools always pay RRP for books?

(22 Posts)
omygiddyant Thu 20-Sep-18 08:25:10

Just curious. DS was given an English text at school, and we were asked for voluntary contributions towards the cost (sign of the times, huh?). The school had bought them for the recommended retail price, but they were available on Amazon for about £1.25 less. Ar schools not able to access discounts by buying from online retailers? As they bought the books in bulk they may have been able to get even bigger savings from somewhere.

OP’s posts: |
combatbarbie Thu 20-Sep-18 08:35:03

I work in a trg establishment and we have to buy text books for our courses. We get them from the supplier at cost price. We add 15%. Example one of our books rrp is £9.99. We get it for £5.62 and sell for £6.50.

user187656748 Thu 20-Sep-18 08:36:13

my friend is a librarian in a school and they buy from waterstones which seems crazy but they get a bulk discount.

Astronotus Thu 20-Sep-18 10:44:30

Schools can always access discounts, sometimes very big discounts when buying 100s, on books and textbooks.

DumbledoresApprentice Sat 22-Sep-18 11:01:05

We usually buy from Waterstones who give us up to a 20% discount on large orders. Sometimes the discount is less than that. We can’t buy via amazon, although when I’ve just needed one copy of a book for the teacher or for an A Level student’s coursework I’ve bought from my amazon account if they are cheaper and then claimed the money back. That wouldn’t happen for a big order though.

admission Sat 22-Sep-18 21:47:18

As a school governor my reaction would be in these times of financial difficulties for most schools be that a school that is not looking for a supplier who is able to offer a significant discount from RRP is not doing their job. It is just throwing money away.
I have recently been into a large secondary school (1000+ pupils) and they were buying at RRP until challenged about it, which saved a good few hundred pounds.

stargirl1701 Sat 22-Sep-18 21:51:56

We can only buy from pre-approved companies who are on the LA PECOS system. We cannot buy from Amazon.

admission Sun 23-Sep-18 16:51:50

And this is where it gets interesting because it is for schools to decide what they want to spend and how. If the LA are dictating who are the pre-approved suppliers how are the school ensuring that the prices quoted by the pre-approved suppliers are actually a good deal? I would always expect that schools will check what is the cost from another third party source.
Think this especially applies to building maintenance situations. This summer for some changes to fencing, £8K from the pre-approved supplier, from a third party, who did a really good job of the work, £4.5K.

stargirl1701 Sun 23-Sep-18 16:54:51

Are you in Scotland? I don't think we have the same rules as England.

elkiedee Sun 23-Sep-18 17:06:00

On discounts, Amazon discounts what is popular or arranges deals with particular publishers or companies who make the products. I would think schools, or local authorities, might be able to get more specific discounts eg the question on books is not the price for one copy of the latest bestseller but a huge number of a set text which may not be especially popular outside schools/kids studying that book on a course syllabus.

Cauliflowersqueeze Sun 23-Sep-18 18:54:33

Schools are losing thousands and thousands of pounds while being faced with unprecedented costs of new courses etc.
Some schools can only buy from suppliers.

sparklelark Sun 23-Sep-18 19:48:23

We often get books from the supplier at well below the RRP of the books! Maybe their school policy is not helping them here

dootball Sun 23-Sep-18 19:55:50

Maybe the school did get a discount of the texts , but they aren't passing it on to you!

montenuit Tue 25-Sep-18 15:04:02

Yes I agree with PP, i bet they are getting a discount but not passing it on, taking any opportunity to boost the school's fund. They have to in these times. Or they know say 20% will never pay so the 20% premium charged to everyone else covers it.

Cauliflowersqueeze Wed 26-Sep-18 06:44:20

State schools 100% can’t make profit out of pupils/Parents like this.

montenuit Wed 26-Sep-18 12:13:02

I know my ds's school charged £48/term for swimming lessons. No way did it cost them that much. Was really bad value unless you couldn't swim... 1 teacher for the 25 kids who could swim and then 2 teachers for the handful that couldn't.

montenuit Wed 26-Sep-18 12:14:41

and of course i'm not suggesting the school is "profiting" it just goes in the pot and covers other things / covers those who don't pay.

Cauliflowersqueeze Wed 26-Sep-18 20:35:16

I’m surprised a state school charges for PE lessons (swimming)?

QuantumGroan Wed 26-Sep-18 20:50:15

State schools might not be able to make a profit but the purchasing dept might also not be incentivised to get the best price. Our school gets a good deal on English books which the English Dept are understandably passionate about all kids having the same edition and revision texts - better than Amazon!

elkiedee Wed 26-Sep-18 21:14:30

Unless the school has its own pool, they presumably need to pay for using it.

I live in quite a poor area where charging isn't really an option for DS2's primary school. I think they use Pupil Premium for those kids they get it for and the school's budgets for the rest. We have a head who is very committed to making sure it's a place where kids get equal treatment and access to all learning opportunities, plus the school is putting resources into pastoral care - I think there may be applications to some funding streams available for some of it, as it's partly about the support that the school should get from the local authority or whatever it has been hived off into (school improvement, governor support etc and the money to pay for them have been taken away from local authorities by government policy!). I'm a parent-governor so this is stuff I'm picking up from meetings.

DS1 has just started secondary school and his uniform plus essential logoed PE clothes cost quite a lot when I totted it up. Fortunately my dad paid for a lot of it. I'm expecting some trips and hopefully there will be some that we can afford to send DS1 on, and DS2 too in a couple of years, but there hasn't been anything yet.

montenuit Thu 27-Sep-18 10:18:05

all the schools i know of around here charge for swimming. They use the local council pool.
I know a few queried it, as at £48/term that's £4 a lesson. Considering 25 kids and one teacher for about 20 minutes, that's pretty poor value compared to what you get for normal swimming lessons (£10/lesson but one teacher for 3 children and proper coaching, not someone barking instructions from the poolside). Those that queried it were told that's what it costs. If they had financial difficulties and couldn't pay to come and discuss with the school (as per other school costs eg trips).

RueDeWakening Thu 27-Sep-18 10:37:59

I sell Usborne books to schools, they get a decent discount on the cover price.

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