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Teachers - how often do you spend your own money, on buying things for school?

(66 Posts)
InternationalPower Wed 21-Aug-13 17:07:41

I am bursar at a state primary and have been shocked seeing posts on here suggesting that it is the norm for you to spend your own money on things for school. E.g something to support a child who is not being properly provided for at school, on rewards for your class or educational materials.

Is this really that common? Where I work there is money set aside in the budget specifically for these things. I would be horrified to think our staff were buying them from their own money.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 25-Aug-13 18:21:27

I refuse to buy textbooks, but spend a fortune on stationary.

usually £30 per term occasionally more.

Fairyliz Mon 26-Aug-13 09:07:07

I have worked as a Finance Officer/Business Manager for 14 years and always ensure that we have a budget for these items. I also fill in the paperwork for the teachers if necessary and have even got the Head to sign off forms when teachers have lost their receipts.
Think I need to tell my teachers how lucky they are to have me lol.

EvilTwins Mon 26-Aug-13 10:26:13

I buy stuff for my classroom all the time. I'm secondary Performing Arts. Almost all the books, posters, CDs, DVDs, props etc in my room are mine. I've also bought costumes for school plays & not claimed the money back. If/when I move school, though, the books etc will be going with me. I've been teaching since 1997 & have had a couple of posters (for favourite productions) on every classroom wall I've ever taught in. Makes it feel like home wink

I don't mind, tbh. I never buy consumables or large items, but I shudder to think what the total spend would be if I added it all up.

mrspaddy Mon 26-Aug-13 10:35:36

I have bought lots ... baby wipes, cordial. This is only in the past year. I also raid charity shops for books, spare clothing. We all do this. It is a disgrace really. We used to get a budget.

I don't mind buying things that I keep myself. I bring them home in the summer.

lade Mon 26-Aug-13 20:44:09

Yes all the time. I teach in FE and I buy...

- Books for me to research the topics I am teaching.

- Stationery: Laminates, pens, felt tips for the students etc...

- Small whiteboards for the students to use in class. (only buy these occasionally when I see them reduced in WHS).

- My own teachers planner. They say they are too expensive, so we have to buy our own.

- And most importantly, chocolate for the students. I do a weekly multiple choice test and the winner(s) get a chocolate bar - I buy those.

I also do a lot of printing at home

But FE has less money per student than sixth formers who stay in schools, so we have a much stricter budget!

happilyconfused Mon 26-Aug-13 21:13:49

Lots of printing so that means paper and ink. Ink is the most expensive thing. I have my own guillotine and four-hole punch at home along with a supply of treasury tags and laminate. I probably buy a couple of a level text books each year to make up for those that do not get returned. I supply all my own pens, memory sticks for back ups. I also buy other resources such as a teacher guide. I reckon I spend £150 a year

puffinnuffin Tue 27-Aug-13 15:24:14

I regularly buy things (have literally just spent £60 on resources for my subject).
However if I change school I want to be able to take my resources with me rather than starting again.

BackforGood Tue 27-Aug-13 15:33:51

It's standard practice International - in all the schools I've worked in and also amongst all friends who are teachers. Not big amounts,, but regularly buy books, or stickers, or 'treats', or word games or jigsaws etc (from car boots or Summer Fetes normally), then there's things you can never get in school like Pritt Sticks and Blu tac and sellotape, then there's usually something for some Christmas Craft, then there's all the printing you do at home (used to be getting photos developed - but I'm old), sensory things. All sorts.
Then there's the stuff you "borrow" off your own dc.

I've been out of school for 4 years now, but still think "Oh, that'd be useful for school' when I see things when I'm out and about.

olivo Tue 27-Aug-13 21:22:27

I buy lots but as much of it comes from car boot sales etc, I can't get receipts and claim back.

In my early years, I used to buy heaps of stationery, books , prizes, posters etc all from my own pocket. I have wised up A bit now, but largely because I have my own budget for some subjects and a very supportive boss for others.

BrianButterfield Tue 27-Aug-13 21:31:03

I buy second hand books for my bookshelf (so when they get battered or go missing I don't mind), DVDs sometimes even when we have one in school as it's easier just to have my own, sweets/rewards/prizes all the time, bits and pieces for room decoration, presents/cards/cakes for leavers, and so on. And to be honest I don't consider myself to spend a lot - I know people who buy way more.

partystress Tue 27-Aug-13 22:15:46

£106 this week in Staples - laminating pouches, plastic pockets, printer cartridges. All stuff that is theoretically available at school, but not guaranteed (or easy to access unless I want to be on school premises 24/7!) Probably £60 in Wilkos over the year on things for my prize box.

Makes me laugh (in a angry way) when I hear people talking about the pampered public sector. My former private sector colleagues couldn't go 30 mins away from the office without claiming for a Starbucks and wouldn't travel as much as a mile without claiming travel costs....

BackforGood Wed 28-Aug-13 00:29:17

"travel costs"...... <hollow laughter>

Arisbottle Wed 28-Aug-13 10:17:47

Lots, must be hundreds every year.

Bookcases and storage units
Ink cartridges
Display borders
Felt tips
Merit stickers
Marking stamps

Smartiepants79 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:37:52

Budget.? What's that?
I spend maybe £50-100 a year on stuff for the classroom.
Some of that is books.
Then stickers, rewards, consumable resources for science/art/DT.
Food for cooking.
Pencils, crayons, rubbers etc.
Scratch that, make it more like £200!

Smartiepants79 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:38:57

Oh yeah, travel costs! Ha!

bronya Wed 28-Aug-13 21:52:17

To get ANYTHING, at my dad's school, you have to prove it's vital to the children's learning, prove it is in the school improvement plan somewhere, prove you've investigated at least five places that sell it and the place you chose is the lowest cost. Then you wait with baited breath to see if you're allowed it. My Dad gave up even asking before I was born! He spends at least £300 a year on resources (ink cartridges are rationed - you use up your ration (which is so meagre it lasts half the year if you're lucky!) and you have to buy your own - pencils, board pens etc likewise), he also buys treats for the class as a reward for good behaviour, xmas, easter and summer leaving presents for the class.

Jaynebxl Wed 28-Aug-13 22:03:46

We are only allowed to buy stuff from a small selection of approved catalogues and bizarrely these catalogues are lacking so many of the things teachers end up spending their own money on! Not least cookery ingredients, nice mats, nice role play stuff and any teacher books you might need for your own research. Did anyone see that pic that went round Facebook recently and said "Teaching, the only job where people steal things from home to take to work" accompanied by pics of various items of stationery.

Crannog Wed 28-Aug-13 22:16:09

I'm not a teacher just a parent who helps out in class. The teacher buys little gifts for the kids at the end of the year as well as mountains of stationery etc. I was in one day when there was a cake sale to raise funds for a class trip. 7 children hadn't been given any money so she bought something for every one of them. I had a proper lump in my throat.

So I wanted to say thank you to all the teachers who care like this.

DIddled Wed 28-Aug-13 22:29:15

Crannog - that has made me fill up! My sis is a Higher Level TA at a school in a very deprived area. We never throw any clothes or child related stuff away- she takes it in and dishes it out to parents who are struggling. Last year she heard about a local Fire station giving out presents for underprivileged kids and she queued for hours to get some for children who would have had little or nothing. She really does care- and I know there are many like her. Good for them.

GW297 Wed 28-Aug-13 23:27:23

I buy children cakes at a cake sale who haven't brought any money for one.

NewNameforNewTerm Thu 29-Aug-13 09:27:38

Our school has class budgets and subject budgets; all of which get used up in weeks. So yes, it is standard for teachers to buy stuff for their classroom and the children. A regular topic of conversation when we go back in September is the goodies we found/bought over the summer. I went to Ikea last week .... £££!
I buy :
Teachers resource books (photocopiable and lesson ideas)
Subscriptions to specific websites for resources
Fancy pencils, gel pens, highlighters, shaped post-its, stickers
Storage boxes, table tidies
All my own desk organisation (paper in-trays, magazine boxes, Ikea wooden small drawer unit)
Art / craft resources
Ingredients for cooking demos
Class treats
Each year I buy a multi pack of girls and boys knickers, hair scrunchies and a full PE & swimming kits (when cheap on sale)
Anything I see relating to specific topics I'm covering (just bought a small pirate ship and a dress-up pirate costume)
I also have my own Mary, Joseph, 8 angels, 3 Kings, 6 shepherds, 3 sheep, donkey, 2 camels and numerous bits of nativity costumes that I've made over the years - our school doesn't ask for much when it is Christmas play time, just basics to go under costumes organised by teachers. Each summer I set myself a challenge of making a couple of new bits of costume from material I found or bought over the year. This year it was 2 more shepherds and a new King's cloak.

My OH always rolls his eyes, but my thoughts are if it either a) makes it better for the children or b) makes my life easier I'll do it. My time is short and having these things to hand and a super-organised classroom makes me feel better. I know we shouldn't have to, but the school budget is tight.

ITCouldBeWorse Thu 29-Aug-13 09:29:52

All the time. And not just teaching staff. Support staff too on much lower wages. Some staff give so much.

GW297 Thu 29-Aug-13 22:09:54

Newname - you sound just like me!

NewNameforNewTerm Thu 29-Aug-13 23:16:07

grin GW297. Have you bought anything good ready for next week? The new stuff thread on TES is useless this year (but then I hate the new TES so I rarely go there any more!)
I found a set of instructions on Pinterest on how to make situpons (small round slightly padded cushions for sitting on outside, made from plastic tablecloths), so I'm hoping to make 30 before next week!

petalpower Fri 30-Aug-13 07:29:52

I agree NewName, I don't bother with TES anymore, the new format is just impossible to navigate.
I dread to think how much I spend on school resources (primary teacher) each year. I always buy my own books for class reading, resource books, pay for web subscriptions etc. Then there's all the little incidentals (all those trips to Wilkos!) for stationery bits, cooking ingredients, DT consumables. There's just no budget in school, my class budget is minimal and if I don't buy things then the children miss out.

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