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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:
dingit · 11/09/2015 13:14

The one that shocked me was for dds new sixth form. £300 voluntary contribution to the school funds ( per year)

Bunbaker · 11/09/2015 13:14

roamer it is the same at the school I was a governor at. It is a new building and the mortgage repayments are crippling them. They are losing the experienced teachers and replacing them with NQTs because they can't afford to pay them.

JoffreyBaratheon · 11/09/2015 14:38

Last couple of weeks of term, last year, I had to pay out £50 for both my kids to go on a school trip. One was barely off the bus when there was another request for £15 for another school trip. Meanwhile, the other kid faced me with a demand for £25 because he's doing BTEC Sport, and has to have a t shirt and tracksuit top with his name emblazoned on (a badge might be cheaper). No question of subsidy or help - I'm raising these kids on my husband's minimum wage and a shaky freelance income that simply wasn't there this year - whilst their birth dad pays £0.00 because the CSA couldn't find him. (He lives at the same address he lived at 20 years ago and it takes one second to pull up on Google).

This year, older son has a trip to Poland (wtf?) that "everyone" is going on. It's hundreds of pounds. I have had to save my last fiver so I have petrol to take the younger one to his football match tomorrow.

HelenaDove · 11/09/2015 15:16

Joffrey that is seriously crap. What a struggle.

hibbleddible · 11/09/2015 15:25

Joffrey, I was with you until the wtf comment about Poland. It is a very beautiful country with a lot of history, and I can think of lots curriculum areas where it would be relevant. It is also comparatively cheap compared to Western Europe. That's a pretty offensive comment tbh.

teatowel · 11/09/2015 16:09

Schools asking for money has been happening for years. We had to pay for our material for needlework way back in the 70's. I have been teaching for ever and strangely people never moaned about trip money and other bits and pieces until it became' voluntary'. Since the voluntary aspect was introduced nobody seems to want to pay. It seems that some people who can afford the extras cannot stand to see others not paying- which I guess is human nature. Outings and extras are run because staff think children will enjoy and benefit from them. Perhaps it would be best if schools abandoned all trips and extras even though teachers know how much they enrich school life. Then nobody could moan (except of course about the lack of outings:)

coffeeisnectar · 11/09/2015 16:54

If your child is in sixth form they can apply for a bursary to cover costs such as sports equipment etc. My dd is doing sports btech and had to buy £80 worth of school kit (sixth form kit is completely different to kit they wore previously rendering all her logo stuff in the wrong colour useless) plus she had to buy two books at £30 each and her travel is £50 a month. She gets £20 a week to subsidise these costs based on attendance.

I went to youngest dds school today. Arts materials was a voluntary contribution (which wasn't stated). However all her trips including the residential are covered by pp which is brilliant. So I have paid the arts materials money and am volunteering as a parent helper on another trip next week. Yes another one (although it's free, not sure any school could justify a charge for a walk round the local woods!).

I think some schools are offering trips which are too expensive. I know oldest dd was offered a five day trip to France (by coach so two days travel) which included a full day at Disneyland Paris (not really educational) and it was over £600. We couldn't afford it and a lot of these trips are unaffordable for the vast majority of parents.

OP posts:
Bunbaker · 11/09/2015 17:06

"I think some schools are offering trips which are too expensive."

I agree. I don't understand why they do it.

CookieMonsterIsOnADiet · 11/09/2015 17:39

Some parents must want those trips though or they wouldn't run them. Why should they miss out as others cant go? They have been offered for years and should continue.

The comment about voluntary contributions is spot on, I imagine lots opt out as are fed up of funding things like art, baking etc when others don't. It should be compulsory to pay. No where else do you get to say I'm not paying yet still get the item or trip etc.

Topseyt · 11/09/2015 17:46

It has often seemed to me that schools are offering ever more expensive trips these days.

A couple of years ago I turned down a skiing trip costing £950 for my DD3.

The one that really took the biscuit though was for my DD1 - £4,000 for a trip to Japan about 4 years ago now. She didn't go. I refused to pay for it (couldn't anyway) and although she wanted to pay out of her savings which grandparents had gradually put away for her for birthdays and Christmases, she finally saw sense as she was going to uni and would need every penny she had.

I understand about paying for some baking and art and craft materials as the child will be taking them home at the end of the course and schools' budgets are totally buggered these days. I understand too about the extra music lessons. I also have never begrudged paying for some much needed books so that my daughters could have their own copies. Same reasons - i.e. these things are expensive, particularly en masse, and schools hardly have the budgets for them anymore.

Some of the really expensive trips are just ridiculous though, and common sense should be applied. Parents are not cash cows. Most of us do not have an endless pot of money to throw at these things.

WitchOfAlba · 11/09/2015 17:55

Those of you who don't pay the contributions for baking, do you know that often the teachers buy the ingredients out of their own pocket? DSis does this and doesn't claim the money back unless the school have had contributions from the parents.

coffeeisnectar · 11/09/2015 18:27

If the parents who can afford these trips want them enough then can't they take them in school holidays. I don't know a single family who could afford £4k for a child's trip to Japan. Not one. I'm sure there are some who can but they are the ones who can afford three weeks in prime holiday season while most families struggle to afford a week's camping in Wales.

OP posts:
Isitchristmasyet4 · 11/09/2015 18:34

When i was at school (not that long ago) i was pestered for the 'voluntary contribution' literally pestered everyday. I didn't tell my parents because i knew they didn't have it (160pounds) schools need to be questioned on these things... they do take the mickey and use bullying tactics to get money out of parents!

Girlfriend36 · 11/09/2015 19:49

I had a minor tantrum tonight as dd has come out and said the clear drinks bottle she takes her water into school in apparently isn't 'clear' enough Confused Hmm Angry you can bloody see through it ffs! So now have to fork out for another drinks bottle!!

arethereanyleftatall · 11/09/2015 21:02

I pay all the voluntary contributions because we can. I don't mind at all paying extra for those who can't afford it. It bugs the hell out of me when I discover a parent, who could well afford it, doesn't.

OrangePeels · 12/09/2015 08:15

We live in the middle east so only have private schools. The cost of extra curricular activities is unbelievable! I just have to accept if i want her to do them then I have to pay. it's bloody painful though! They do offer some free stuff such as team sports but only for year 2 upwards.

DD is in year 1 and does gymnastics twice a week at a cost 15gbp per lesson and swimming at 18gbp per lesson. She already does swimming as part of her school curriculum but decided she really wanted to do more.
I figured out that's a whopping 1440 per year Shock plus outfits etc to pay for.
Her grandparents pay for one activity a week which I am most grateful for!

First day of school - a letter regarding a trip to the theatre costing 28gbp to be paid the next day! Hmm The trip is in October!

Saltedcaramel4 · 12/09/2015 08:22

It's really odd how private schools uniforms are so much more expensive then state.

My friend and I both have secondary aged children and have to buy specific jumpers/skirts etc. The quality of the uniform is the same but my friend pays twice the amount. Very odd

windypolar · 12/09/2015 10:26

For those on lower incomes there should be provision made. OP in her situation shouldn't have to pay. But otherwise, thinking of friends of mine on high incomes who complain about the occasional text book or trip they have to pay for, if you're using a state school the bulk of it is bloody free.
I still marvel that dd's state college education is free and, unlike GCSEs, I didn't have to pay for the A Level exam fee, invigilation fee, administration fee etc

Bunbaker · 12/09/2015 10:29

Why did you have to pay the GCSE fees?

BertrandRussell · 12/09/2015 10:35

You often do in private schools.

JoffreyBaratheon · 12/09/2015 16:29

hibble, I meant "Poland - wtf" in the sense of.... it's a school that has only ever done a trip abroad relating to the modern language to kids are learning. My son - and o-one in fact - is learning Polish. Just Spanish. So that "wtf" was because I don't get why they think we're so rich we can pay hundreds of pounds for the kids to go to a place that has no relevance to their curriculum.

To give it a bit of context, this is a school that came close to being in special measures and it's not a deprived area but not a rich one, either. So hundreds of quid for an irrelevant trip that can be little more than a beano, makes no sense.

I used to be a teacher and recall the school in a very deprived area where the Head (a total middle class, naive woman) decided that a skiing trip to the Alps was in order. (My kids' parents used to complain if we asked for a fiver towards a trip to the science museum in town). She had a grand total of one taker. And that was the child of a (brown-nosing) governor. So when I heard my kids' school was off to Poland, it reminded me of my old boss, randomly deciding to go ski-ing...

The "wtf" wasn't that it was Poland, it was that it was a random place that bears no relationship to anything the kids are studying. (Given that if a school does only one trip abroad a year they should make it educationally relevant as any exposure to any different culture is arguably 'educational' but that's simply not enough if it doesn't tick a few boxes in terms of their work).

hibbleddible · 12/09/2015 17:22

joffrey was it not carried out as part of the history curriculum?

At secondary school, at least when I went, a huge amount of the GCSE history curriculum involved Poland. This included the second world war, the concentration camps, the solidarity movement, communism etc.

It would almost certainly be far cheaper than a trip skiing to the Alps as well.

BoomBoomsCousin · 12/09/2015 17:30

windy the bulk of it is "bloody free" because we have a democratic state that has passed laws saying it should all be free at the point of service.

Pipbin · 12/09/2015 17:40

Can I just remind people that damn near every teacher in school buys stuff out of their own money for the class.
I personally buy cushions for the book corner, toys, games, prizes, stickers and birthday cards. There have been threads on here about teachers having to buy their own pencils and books.

As for pupil premium. My understanding of it is that it is a very broad brush. There is some evidence that children who come from low income households struggle at school. There for pupil premium was attached to FSM as a way of getting funding to those children to help their education. I was paid as a specialist one to one teacher a few years ago with my wages supported by PP. I taught about 10 children a day. I taught the children who needed it, not the ones on FSM. It would be so unfair otherwise. 'Sorry Jimmy, I know you struggle but because your mum earns a little to much I can't help you. I can help Janet, even though she doesn't need it, because her dad lost his job 6 months ago'.

Greengardenpixie · 12/09/2015 17:55

Well said pipbin. I am so tired of buying things as a teacher.
This year alone i have purchased:

A new whiteboard for the wall, pencils, sharpeners, pencil pots, cushions, rugs, laminated countless things, ink for my printer, paper, felt pens, crayons, palette paints, boxes for jotters, trays for my desk, glue sticks, stickers, prizes.

Im so tired of this. Its been the worst ever this year.

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