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School requests circa £450 by way of voluntary contribution !! <shock>

(46 Posts)
MrsSpringsteen Tue 30-Jun-09 21:15:43

my son returned to school yesterday to be greeted with a letter requesting a fiver for every month he has attended the school!

It is a voluntary aided school but what the????

we wee horrified and i will not be paying it

Do you all think this is reasonable.

I have 5 boys and was hoping to send them all. I had thought state education was free!

differentID Tue 30-Jun-09 21:17:19

seeing as it is voluntary, don't pay it. Did they say what it was for?

roisin Tue 30-Jun-09 21:22:56

They are asking for it retrospectively?!

More and more schools are asking for 'voluntary contributions' when they are in affluent areas. In this town they'd just be laughed off the court, but that means the gap between the well-off schools/areas just widens. If you have 1000 in your school and they all bring in £50, that's £50k to add to your budget grin

Some schools have way higher Voluntary Contributions than this too.

frogs Tue 30-Jun-09 21:30:31

Not uncommon in parts of London for sought-after state schools to ask for £50 a month.

I think asking is fair enough, tbh -- a lot of the parents would have sent their kids private if they hadn't got into these schools, so £50 or whatever a month is a drop in the ocean to them.

As long as the school don't hassle parents for it, or make you feel like a second-class citizen if you don't pay, I think it's probably justifiable. When dd1 started secondary we were sent a direct debit form with all the other guff you get suggesting £46 per month. I never sent it back, cos we can't afford it, and we've never heard anything back. Chasing parents is unforgiveable though, and possibly illegal -- there was a piece about it in the guardian recently I think, and some schools were getting quite aggressive about it.

MrsSpringsteen Tue 30-Jun-09 21:36:10

gosh thanks for the education!
I was horrified and quite shocked tbh as ds1 is in year 12 so most of it is retrospective

i think the £5 a month is feasible as a request but backdating it 6 years hmm

in a recession too....

roisin Tue 30-Jun-09 21:54:11

hmm Are your governors' minutes available on their website? The backdating suggeston smacks of panic/desperation to me. I wonder what sort of state their finances are in?hmm

MrsSpringsteen Tue 30-Jun-09 22:15:17

i am not sure roisin and will look....

a lot of building work has taken place over last 2 years and none for 100 years prior to that!

MrsSpringsteen Tue 30-Jun-09 22:20:09

no no minutes available...

ABetaDad Tue 30-Jun-09 22:33:04

Do not pay. It is a state school. End of. This is just not on. What about parents on low income? I don't get it.

MrsSpringsteen Tue 30-Jun-09 22:58:36

my sentiments abetadad

i told ds -who has just been made deputy head boy so i dont want to shame him!

"i shall say nothing. If they ask me again i shall respond with ' I opted for state funded education'"

end of!

CountessDracula Tue 30-Jun-09 23:00:47

That is a LOT of money to ask for in one go
and yes it is voluntary so you don't ahve to pay
At dd's school they ask for £20 a year so they can fund external sports providers for eg, but again it is voluntary

flatcapandpearls Tue 30-Jun-09 23:02:52

There are a growing number of state schools with huge budget problems, that request would get me thinking.

MrsSpringsteen Tue 30-Jun-09 23:16:59

should i enquire?

zeke Wed 01-Jul-09 14:16:30

My SIL told me about this kind of thing (London) and I was a bit shock, especially as I have been a state school teacher for 13 years and never heard of it! However, as my SIL decided to educate her three privately and she would probably be fairly typical of the intake, it is also reasonable to say that most parents could afford it.
I know our (my son's primary school) PTA raises a lot of money, and I, like a lot of other parents, are quite generous with our contributions.
To be asked in such a direct way though!

NewTeacher Wed 01-Jul-09 14:40:00

A VA school does ask for contributions from parents to top up their budget which in turn pays for your DC's education.

Asking for it retrospectively is out of order though.

A state school is entirely funded by the local authority but VA schools have to get money from somewhere! so in future they should ask for it at the beginning of the year.

aitchjay66 Wed 01-Jul-09 14:47:11

VA schools are also funded through the local authority in the same way as community schools. Faith schools are often VA schools and receive additional funds from whichever faith they are associated with. There is legal obligation to pay and it is unlawful for schools to ask for any such contribution as part of the admission process.

aitchjay66 Wed 01-Jul-09 14:49:02

Ooopsblush I should have said "there is NO legal obligation to pay.!!

mummyrex Wed 01-Jul-09 15:12:15

Our regular state secondary school where my dc starts in Septhas asked us for £60 towards ICT.

mummyrex Wed 01-Jul-09 15:16:36

Should have added we will not be paying and I think it is wrong to ask in this way. They claim that the request "is in line with other liocal schools" and that the "local grammar schools are asking parents to contribute £250 per year" (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Our other DC is at a local grammar and we haven't been asked for money in this way.

Milliways Wed 01-Jul-09 16:46:29

DS's Grammar is £100 per year. DD's comp is £15!!

MrsSpringsteen Wed 01-Jul-09 21:26:58

we are also asked to pay for a fair bit - ict /dt etc

books i buy anyway as they have to share and i think my dcs should have their own but i do object to this request

forget 'many parents can afford it' many cannot but actually this is wrong in principle

mummyrex Thu 02-Jul-09 09:52:59

agree 100% MrsS

3littlefrogs Thu 02-Jul-09 09:58:37

VA schools get government money for the educational costs, but nothing for the maintenance of their buildings as far as I understand. At least that is what we were told when we visited the school last year. Apparantly this is why they ask for parental contributions. The secondary school dd will be going to in September is VA, and has built a new sports hall, which has to be paid for from donations.

Bramshott Thu 02-Jul-09 10:02:06

It's outrageously cheeky to ask for £5 a month going forward, but it seems not uncommon shock!

However, it's just plain wrong to backdate that for the time your DS has attended the school previously shock angry!

ihavenosecrets Thu 02-Jul-09 10:07:12

At my son's VA school we were asked to pay a voluntary contribution of £60 per term, one term I didn't pay and they sent me a snotty letter chasing it!

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