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Can academies charge for equipment?

(34 Posts)
UncleMatthewsEntrenchingTool Wed 09-Sep-20 19:51:54

There was a very helpful thread a few days ago with contributions by @prh47bridge about compulsory charges for secondary school equipment.

Do the same rules apply for academies? Three days in and we have had the first request for £10 for the purchase of an art pack.

Does the education act apply in the same way to academies as they are not ‘maintained’ schools?

OP’s posts: |
Hothammock Wed 09-Sep-20 20:01:06

Can you link to that thread please? Our grammar school charges for a few things, calculators and books and headphones and asks for contributions toward d and t materials... It's a selective academy. Now I think about it they present it all as recommended and preferred rather than saying its compulsory.

UncleMatthewsEntrenchingTool Wed 09-Sep-20 20:10:05

It was this one

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/4015410-6th-form-compulsory-charges-is-it-legal

DD is also at a selective grammar and the bit of reading I have done suggests that they can’t charge for these things.

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/706830/Charging_for_school_activities.pdf

But it would be nice to have confirmation before I go back to them...

OP’s posts: |
Decorhate Wed 09-Sep-20 20:44:55

If the art pack is for your child to take home (to use for homework also) and to ultimately keep, then yes schools can charge. If your child is Pupil Premium they may be given one for free. It’s no different to you providing a pencil case with pens and pencils or a geometry set for maths.

ineedaholidaynow Wed 09-Sep-20 20:46:47

You do realise schools have very little money

Decorhate Wed 09-Sep-20 20:53:30

Yes I am getting very hmm at all these posters lately moaning about buying stuff for their kids education. If you are genuinely hard up, talk to the school. They will probably have a hardship fund. If you can afford to pay (and by afford I include by giving up a night out or a takeaway or new clothes) then don’t be an arse and cough up. Save your outrage & write to your MP about school funding. Your child’s education should be your top priority after their health & wellbeing.

noblegiraffe Wed 09-Sep-20 20:58:56

Are you not wanting to pay because you can’t afford it (in which case contact the school) or because you’re an arse?

Sunshineandsparkle Wed 09-Sep-20 20:59:08

Decorhate

Yes I am getting very hmm at all these posters lately moaning about buying stuff for their kids education. If you are genuinely hard up, talk to the school. They will probably have a hardship fund. If you can afford to pay (and by afford I include by giving up a night out or a takeaway or new clothes) then don’t be an arse and cough up. Save your outrage & write to your MP about school funding. Your child’s education should be your top priority after their health & wellbeing.

This!! I don’t know why people complain so much about small contributions to their children’s education. There’s another post with people complaining about having to send their children to school with pens and pencils. The schools have had their funding cut massively and can’t afford all of the extras needed to give YOUR children the varied, well-rounded and interesting education that YOU (quite rightly) would expect them to. If you’re genuinely hard up then speak to the school. My guess though is that this isn’t the case and you’d rather spend your money on a video game or new trainers for them.

Decorhate Wed 09-Sep-20 21:17:51

It’s interesting that in countries where parents have to contribute more (outside their taxes) that education is valued more & pupils often stay in education for longer & do better. Maybe because it’s perceived as totally free in the UK it’s not valued as much.

bookmum08 Wed 09-Sep-20 21:33:28

Academies can do whatever they want.
Unfortunately in many towns in England all the state secondary schools have been taken over by academy chains so there isn't even a local authority alternative.
It's ridiculous.

Decorhate Wed 09-Sep-20 21:42:34

That is completely untrue. All state schools are bound to follow Department of Education guidelines.

Hothammock Wed 09-Sep-20 21:42:56

I assume the art pack is to use at home and keep for your child's individual use, in which case I think the guidance says they can charge. Also if you think about the issues around sharing school equipment at the moment and the fact that the covid guidance for schools states equipment must be cleaned between individual's use, it is probably in your child's interest for you to purchase them their own equipment.
If it was £100 I could understand the fuss but for £10 I really wouldn't make a fuss.
If you are really annoyed but this perhaps ask for their charging policy and see what that says. My son's school made it really clear at the start of year 7what money they would be asking parents for and why.

SavoyCabbage Wed 09-Sep-20 21:54:00

My dd did art GCSE in an academy school and we had to pay for loads of stuff she needed. It would be ridiculous if a child decided to sculpt a life size rhino and the school had to pay for it.

As this woman says, if the teacher wants a yellow binder, She's getting one.
https://youtu.be/OWF3YT8sRH8

UncleMatthewsEntrenchingTool Wed 09-Sep-20 22:07:07

Ok, so some robust views.

I can afford the £10 without question and I have every intention of paying it.

But

I am in a very privileged position. The terms bus fare has just been paid at nearly £400. Again, not a problem for me but there is no help with this and I imagine it would be pretty crippling for some.

So I object to them sending out emails implying that you have to purchase additional items when this is not actually in line with the law. It’s taking advantage of people who may not be able to afford it. And it’s an academy, not even the LEA.

OP’s posts: |
elkiedee Wed 09-Sep-20 22:08:48

I would assume having to buy a lot of basic stationery. Actually, the school apparently has scientific calculators available at a very reasonable price - £5 - plus if I can pay for them by Parentpay and the boys collect them then I'd be happy, and I would love it if they'd offer more at such prices through the school. No bus journey and fares and getting all stressed in the shop and in the queue - that would be great.

I'm a bit indignant today with DS1 (Y9) as he is now saying he's lost his scientific calculator in the last week before lockdown and various other bits and pieces, including a lanyard for his school ID card and assorted bits of stationery. This comes after brushing off several efforts to talk about stationery, including looking at a rack of things in a large Sainsburys when we went to get school uniform, and asking him when I was ordering a few bits for DS2 off Amazon.

ineedaholidaynow Wed 09-Sep-20 22:14:49

Academies get the same money as other state maintained schools, they have the same problems with budgets.

prh47bridge Wed 09-Sep-20 23:06:05

If the art pack is for your child to take home (to use for homework also) and to ultimately keep, then yes schools can charge

Not true. They can only charge if the parent says they want to own the art pack. If the parent doesn't say that, all the school can do is ask for a voluntary contribution.

Academies can do whatever they want

Also not true.

The Education Act does not apply directly to academies but they are required by their funding agreements to follow the relevant provisions of the Act. If they fail to do so they could have their funding withdrawn.

noblegiraffe Wed 09-Sep-20 23:11:10

But as ever, just like when asking for ‘voluntary’ contributions towards trips, the alternative isn’t the school paying for everything, it’s the pupils missing out.

UncleMatthewsEntrenchingTool Wed 09-Sep-20 23:18:21

Thanks @prh47bridge , it confirms my understanding, which is what I was after.

I have already paid for this, it’s no skin off my nose, but I resent people misrepresenting the rules. Possibly because in my day job I spend a lot of time pushing back government departments misrepresenting the rules.

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Wed 09-Sep-20 23:26:19

And what’s your end goal? Kids missing out on art because the school can’t afford to provide equipment for those who won’t pay as well as this who can’t?

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Wed 09-Sep-20 23:30:22

can I suggest you contact the Education and Skills Funding Agency who regulate academies and can give you the categoric answer to share with the school?

ineedaholidaynow Thu 10-Sep-20 00:19:20

Instead of contacting the school or EFSA to complain, why don’t you write to your MP and complain about the lack of funding for schools.

Because would you rather you pay for your Art pack and your DC be taught by a specialist art teacher, or you get your art materials paid for by the school but unfortunately they can’t afford an art teacher.

prh47bridge Thu 10-Sep-20 08:41:38

Many schools manage to operate legally, only asking for voluntary contributions, including schools with very low levels of funding per pupil. I am therefore somewhat sceptical of schools that claim they have to charge parents illegally.

By all means ask for voluntary contributions. That is perfectly valid and most parents will cough up. But don't break the law by telling parents they must pay for things that, by law, must be provided free of charge.

I would cut schools some slack in current circumstances. The requirements around shared equipment are an unexpected burden on school finances which will cause problems. But, in normal circumstances, schools should comply with the law.

Meredusoleil Thu 10-Sep-20 09:07:47

SavoyCabbage

My dd did art GCSE in an academy school and we had to pay for loads of stuff she needed. It would be ridiculous if a child decided to sculpt a life size rhino and the school had to pay for it.

As this woman says, if the teacher wants a yellow binder, She's getting one.
ink{https://youtu.be/OWF3YT8sRH8\youtu.be/OWF3YT8sRH]]8}

That video is absolutely hilarious 😂 Just been laughing my head off! If only more parents had that opinion of teachers in the UK.

I regularly tell the children I teach that in most European countries the parents have to buy all the child's school equipment, including exercise books etc. The children often stare at me in disbelief (except for the ones who have experience of said European countries and know too well what I mean).

LolaSmiles Thu 10-Sep-20 09:46:48

It depends if the school are saying 'you have to have this specific art pack', or whether they're saying 'students need art material and this is how much an art pack is from us that has everything you need'.

As long as your child has the correct equipment then the school can't insist they buy from them, but usually the school prices are better than each parent buying the same separately. It's the same with scientific calculators.

It's also why some schools buy revision guides and then sell them. Schools get a cheaper rate, GCSE students will need them. Parents can opt out of buying them and pay extra for the same thing or their child can go without.

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