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been back at school four requests already started

179 replies

coffeeisnectar · 09/09/2015 18:27

Dd brought home a letter about swimming lessons (which run 30 mins past school finish time) and they are requesting 13.50 to cover "costs". Her old school also did swimming lessons and they were free despite having to mini bus the kids there. At this school it's a five minute walk. I'm not sure what's these costs are.

Went onto parent pay and found two items to be paid for. 12 for art and craft materials. And 195 for music tuition.

They have a three day residential in November costing another 175.

This is just your average state school. Dd is 9. Aibu to think it's taking the kids??

We are on benefits, the school effectively want three weeks income from me in the next month!!

OP posts:
ilovechristmas123 · 09/09/2015 21:30

he the could have school meals but is fussy so i make him a packed lunch but i remember filling out the fsm form as the school said about it being attached to pp

he has been doing really well in school and has never needed extra help

he is in y4

lifesalongsong · 09/09/2015 21:37

You don't actually have to eat the school meals so it won't matter that he has a packed lunch as long as you've filled the form in.

If he doesn't need help academically they could us it for school trips, music lessons, after school activities, anything that would benefit him at all. If you're asking how it's been spent I wouldn't expect the teacher to know I'd start with the office

ilovechristmas123 · 09/09/2015 21:42

yes thats why i filled out the forms the school has quite a few FSM children and they done a big push that even if you didnt want the fsm they then would get the pp

i can honestly say i have never seen anything about how it is spent or let it be known that it can ofset some costs eg trips etc

news letter home every week and never seen anything, the only time was when they wanted people to sign up to access the pp

OddlyLogical · 09/09/2015 21:45

Music lessons - fair enough
Art materials - seems a bit steep but ok
Residential trip - fair enough, they don't do them every year
Swimming - if the kids are walking, the school shouldn't be charging for them as they are part of the national curriculum. It would be like charging for maths lessons.

ilovechristmas123 · 09/09/2015 21:47

and we pay for swimming,starting to think his school is scamming Grin

whojamaflip · 09/09/2015 21:51

So far we have had ??34 for a school trip for one child and "only" ??16.50 for another........and so it starts Sad

I must admit I got so pissed off last year that I refused to pay for the swimming lessons - but both dc still did the lessons.

Requests for payment need to be budgeted for - I haven't got an endless pot just waiting for the school to ask Sad

HoopsAlot · 09/09/2015 21:53

Money on first day and birthday invite too!
Mostly years milk and a school trip the week after. Then in 2nd week requests for Xmas panot trip.

It is constant.

multivac · 09/09/2015 22:00

ilovechristmas - the school is legally obliged to publish details of how pupil premium money is spent on its website. Oh, unless it's an academy/free school, of course...

Topseyt · 09/09/2015 22:02

I have always found that an array of things appear on Parentpay that are not necessarily anything to do with my children. Unless you have received specific notification, you may not have to worry.

Just phone and query it if you haven't been notified and don't recognise the entry. It is something to do with the way the Parentpay system works, I was told, though I don't understand what.

I do agree though that the demands for money can seem relentless. It was often a problem to us, though is less so now. My DD1 went to a girls' grammar school which had a larger than average number of fairly wealthy families. They tended to think nothing of sending out demands for sums like ??200 or more at the drop of a hat. If I couldn't afford it at the time I used to tell them, and offer to pay in installments.

Topseyt · 09/09/2015 22:04

Clearly the pound signs are not translating from keyboard to the website.

Think MNHQ may need to take a look.

coffeeisnectar · 09/09/2015 22:44

I think that I'm being fair moaning about the swimming, it's part of the curriculum and they walk so no transport costs. And I already pay for dd to have swimming lessons so I do understand she needs to be able to swim.

I looked on the school website and they got ??45k in pupil premium last year and didn't spend ??16k of it, it's been carried over to this year.

This school has residential trips every year for the four years they are there. So I'm hoping that some of the 1k plus they get for my child can be used to pay some of her trip.

We aren't on benefits out of choice. I'm disabled, my partners long term sick and we've just lost our house so I really don't want my dd feeling different and missing out on trips and activities because we can't afford them. I looked further on the website and there will be at least one trip a term. I dread to think of the costs!

My dd has had to get used to doing without a lot but it saddens me. I wasn't disabled when I had her or my older dd and was financially secure. Life can throw stuff at you which I'm happy to put up with but I don't want my kids missing out.

OP posts:
Bunnyjo · 09/09/2015 23:01

So far I have had requests for:
??10 contribution towards transport costs for DD's swimming
??5 for DS's school trip on Friday
??12 for DD's after school activities

School residential information doesn't come out until December, but last year it was just under ??240 per child.

I feel that DC's school generally try to give appropriate warning of any requests for money - the swimming and trip requests were actually sent out at the end of last term - and they do try to keep these to a minimum.

The school published data to show that any pupil premium funding received was spent on intervention and support - there are so few pupils entitled to pupil premium that the actual number of children on FSM is suppressed on any published data!

Loki17 · 10/09/2015 06:25

If you are unsure about how pp is being spent, you have every right to phone and ask. OP, your situation, as you have described in your last post, is exactly what pp is for. Use it. Your dd doesn't have to know and the head is obliged to keep it confidential. I've organised a trip to the theatre (part of my GCSE course, they have to go as part of the exam) and I don't know who had paid and who has been paid for from pp money. It can even be helped towards uniform costs.

BertrandRussell · 10/09/2015 06:39

I do wonder why people seem to think that the money schools ask for goes straight into the Teacher's Gin Fund. Where do you think the money for school trips is going to come from? Or would you rather not have any school trips? I'm sure teachers would agree with you!

Bunbaker · 10/09/2015 06:44

I agree Bertrand

"Or would you rather not have any school trips? "

Or children even.

I am aware that life throws unexpected hurdles at parents but I have said it before and I will say it again - schools are seriously underfunded. If you want your child to go on school trips or take part in extra curricular activities you can't just assume that there is a bottomless pit of money to subsidise them.

Having children is expensive.

noisytoys · 10/09/2015 06:55

On the first day of school we were sent home a letter with a spreadsheet of all the clubs, times and costs. If DD went to them all the paid clubs it would be in excess of ??200 per term so I gave her a budget of ??120 per term, including music lessons of &75 per term and she chose how it was spent. The cost of these clubs are very cheap comparing the prices to the same clubs taken out of school.

Mistigri · 10/09/2015 06:55

Maybe we should just charge people to put their kids in school? After all, an education doesn't come cheap and those poor people probably don't deserve one.

OP, extracurricular stuff is expensive - music lessons in particular. If it's beyond your budget, then you either need to ask about the PP, or avoid signing your DC up for extras. Ditto trips, although if they take place in school time then you have a good argument for using the PP funding.

For the swimming, as PPs have said, if a lesson forms part of the curriculum, then asking parents to pay for it seems wrong and possibly illegal.

Ask about the PP funding - did I read that right and they have money unspent from last year?! They're not that underfunded if this is true.

DoctorDonnaNoble · 10/09/2015 06:56

Trips cannot be run at a profit. All trips at our school have ??50 added for admin (!) in total for the trip and the cost of any staff accompanying have to be covered (a trip out needs more staff than a lesson in school). I wish I got paid the amount per lesson that finance charge for me to be out on a trip. We no longer run theatre trips to London as it's just not cost effective. Even with schools tickets it costs too much.

Bunbaker · 10/09/2015 06:59

"They're not that underfunded if this is true"

I was a bit Hmm when I saw that.

I don't know about the primary schools, but all the secondary schools in our LA have a deficit budget except for one school that has a lot of PP funding.

CookieMonsterIsOnADiet · 10/09/2015 07:18

Hahaha to schools not bring underfunded. Teachers can't win, do nothing fun and they are moaned at but arrange something fun and dare ask for money then they are collecting for a staff night out you'd think.

School costs are not unknown, trips and residentials are always happening just like music lessons are offered. Parents have plenty of time to save for them, the government even gives child benefit to go towards the costs of children.

Pupil premium seems misunderstood to many, it's not a personal pot to cover the luxuries people want their children to have. It's there for schools to use to narrow the gap as they call it as those who it covers are very likely to be behind their peers. School websites show its spent on support staff, schemes and software not trips and private music lessons in the main.

coffeeisnectar · 10/09/2015 07:57

I'm not bothered about dd having music lessons. I've paid the 12 quid for art materials. I don't understand the charge for swimming which I'm going to query as I've said repeatedly there are no costs involved. And this school runs a residential every year so I guess dd should be expected to miss out this year as her mum can't afford to send her.

I do appreciate the extra support she's getting from the SENCO and I understand that PP goes to fund TAs to support children needing extra help but my dd struggles socially and I hoped that being away with her peers would be beneficial.

OP posts:
BertrandRussell · 10/09/2015 08:17

If you think you won't be able to afford the school trip, go and talk to the Head now. There are always ways and means.

MissDuke · 10/09/2015 11:01

My dd is missing out on the residential trip because she has SN and neither she nor I think it would go well. These things are voluntary, lots of children 'miss out' for various reasons.

So far we have been asked for:

*30 school fund (annual payment per family, voluntary)
*2.50 per week for swimming per child (they don't go if you don't pay)
*25 for after school football for 7 weeks (lots of other clubs available, this is the only one we picked)
*5 per child for a PTA fundraiser
*3 a week for provision of 'healthy break' (per child)
*150 deposit for above residential (total cost is 650, for a week in a European city) as mentioned, dd is not going
*2 a day for breakfast club per child (so we can get to work on time)

I have two children at the school

I am not in England, but am elsewhere in the UK, which may account for the swimming needing paid for.

Flowerpower41 · 10/09/2015 12:22

Ds went on a 2 day 1 night trip residential with his school in year 4 and it cost a mahoosive ??230 - flippin' daylight robbery!

I remember jokingly remarking at the time of paying that I hope they were meeting both the Pope and the Queen for this occasion at that price ..... :(

Flowerpower41 · 10/09/2015 12:26

I am a single parent with no family support and although I do work hard and as much as I can and budget v well the extracurricular got so expensive I had to stop taking ds here there and everywhere one year ago when he turned 10 since it is crippling enough to fund everything else.

I only had to go and ask at the school office on one occasion for school to pay ??9 for a trip as I had absolutely nothing at the time. I hated to ask and hope I never have to ask again it is so embarrassing!

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