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to feel that DH's work should not expect him to get a passport?

176 replies

Thebewilderbeest · 25/09/2018 11:02

DH is a TA in a special needs secondary school. The assistant head has asked him to go on a ski trip to France in January. Going on residential trips is not expected as part of the job role and is done by staff on a purely voluntary basis. He has already been away on residential trips in this country - something that many of the staff, particularly at his level, refuse to do on the grounds that they don't get paid enough. He tends to put himself forward for these trips as the students get so much out of them and without staff willing to go they wouldn't happen.

He doesn't have a passport, he has no need to go abroad and we aren't planning on taking any foreign holidays any time soon. When our passports expired we made the decision not to renew them as it seemed like a waste of money as we have no intentions of leaving the country.

DH has told the assistant head that he would be willing to go on the ski trip but can't because he doesn't have a passport. The assistant head is now pressuring him into getting a passport so he can go, as they have a lack of willing volunteers. DH is feeling like he is being guilted into doing it for the students and that he is letting the team down if he says no.

Am I being unreasonable to be a bit annoyed at the prospect of us forking out £75 for something that DH is not going to have a use for after the trip? Not to mention having to pay for appropriate clothing/gear which again, he will have no use for afterwards. He won't be doing any skiing as they have instructors for that but he's still going to be out on the slopes all day.

I've been saying that I think he should say no. We aren't very high earners and it will put a dent in our budget. He is on the fence about it. AIBU?

OP posts:

C8H10N4O2 · 25/09/2018 16:27

£75 (cost of passport) works out at £6.25 a month, not a big expense

How do you know? Its easy to say that if you have the money spare each month but if you don't or if its tight then its not doable.

Its utterly unreasonable to assume just because you can afford something and find it useful that someone else can find that money without sacrifice (if at all).

Why should a low paid TA subsidise the school trip in this way, on top of all the free hours they are providing?


rosablue · 25/09/2018 16:28

If the assistant head pressures him again, and he doesn't want to go (be it because of the time it will take and/or the cost or something else), he needs to tell him that he caught him on the hop last time, and that when he said that he couldn't go because he didn't have a passport, to him it was obvious that meant he couldn't go - full stop, the passport was just a part of it, but obviously on a TAs salary, having never skied before, he really can't afford to to buy or rent a set of ski-ing clothes, plus he has plans for the holidays with his own family. Whilst he is happy to go on some school trips, he can't do all of them, particularly the foreign ones, and that he is more than happy to go on future shorter trips in the UK.

The phrase 'it appears we were talking at cross purposes..' is a great one in these circumstances - not apologising or putting the blame on anyone - follow with the being caught on the hop bit and then wrap up with wishing him luck finding someone else and saying that he hopes they all have a good time. That way he hasn't apologised, just explained and clarified his original statement and been polite. It's absolutely no more incumbent on him than any of the other TAs or teachers to volunteer - if he goes regularly on other trips then you could say others should step up as he does more than his fair share. I bet the teacher does try to ask people and catch them on the hop for just this reason - people can't think of a good excuse off the top of their head and then they don't feel they can backtrack, particularly if the excuse given was relatively weak and the AH could see a way around it!

It shouldn't be a surprise to an assistant head that a TA makes much less money than he does. (just out of interest - is the AH going on the trip?)(if he is, I guess that's why he's desperately trying to drum up helpers. If he's not - then just point out that he's not the only one not going - sure the AH could volunteer) so I don't think it is unreasonable to point out how expensive it is to go on these trips even as a staff member and how his own family is missing out.


AssignedNorthernAtBirth · 25/09/2018 16:41

I've opened 3 bank accounts this year with nary a suggestion that I needed a passport to do it.


TheSageofOnions · 25/09/2018 18:03

DW and I didn't have passports for nearly 10 years. We took a conscious decision not to renew them. If you have no family overseas (and we don't), I see no problem in someone saying that they know they will not be going overseas for X years.

As for the OP's DH, if the school want him to get a passport, then they should pay at least a proportion of the cost, if not all.


Lunde · 25/09/2018 23:02

Joe66: You can travel in the EU with an ID card. However you cannot get out of the UK without a passport, and the UK don't issue ID cards.

However in some EU countries the cost of the authorised national ID card is more than the cost of a passport.

My ID card is more useful for other things than travel ... accessing medical records online etc


CoughLaughFart · 26/09/2018 00:37

While I don’t think YABU think if it was me I’d have just paid for a new passport. They are sort of useful for other things than going abroad. Plus you can go abroad with one of you want to see other part of the world rather than the small island we live on.

What a patronising comment. Not everyone can ‘just pay’ for something they might use one day. As for the ‘the small island we live on’ crap (condescending as hell), the OP can apply for a passport at any time until the day she dies. This is not an irreversible decision.


Figural · 26/09/2018 04:49

You can travel in the Schengen area on an ID card if you're a citizen of a Schengen area country. UK has an opt-out from the Schengen agreement so Brits need a passport for travel anywhere in the EU.


Bouledeneige · 26/09/2018 13:03

I don't understand why he told the Asst Head he was willing to go - he's not is he? Because he must have realised it would require him to have a passport and suitable clothing which he doesn't want to get.

Seems like he brought the problem on himself.


RayRayBidet · 26/09/2018 13:06

Why didn't he just say he didn't want to go? He used the passport as an excuse when he actually didn't want to go Hmm


MaxTeyon · 26/09/2018 13:19

Any business (and I appreciate schools aren't profit making) would pay for this.

My (Fortune 500) company certainly wouldn’t. They expect you to have a valid passport and that is your responsibility.


Maccycheesefries · 26/09/2018 13:28

Passports are a good ID document to have, they are useful for a variety of situations. I've just started a new job and the first thing they wanted to see was my passport. Same when I remortgaged my house, the bank wanted to see my passport. Passports aren't just for holidays, what will your dh do when he gets a new job?


cholka · 26/09/2018 13:33

I don’t pay taxes to buy your husband a passport. If he’s not able to travel overseas then he shouldn’t volunteer for overseas trips.


twoshedsjackson · 26/09/2018 13:36

Your DH has previously agreed to volunteer to go on trips in this country, despite the expense and his other family commitments, because of the benefit to the pupils, and schools depend on this attitude of goodwill. The assistant head is having problems staffing this one, and DH is on their mental list of "more amenable" staff who can be pressured/guilted. By attempting to guilt-trip him, there is a danger of running that goodwill account into overdraft.
Your DH should point out that he already does his fair share, indeed more than better-paid colleagues. He might suggest to the assistant head that if the need is so desperate, school should not only be funding the passport, but offering paid time off in lieu; a laughably cf suggestion, I know, but might deter the assistant from seeing him as the soft touch.
I was once approached by school management about being one of a team to offer after-school activities "for the good of the children" on a voluntary basis. My response was, "Oh yes, we ran a Play Centre after hours at my last school" (true). "The extra money would be really useful (also true), but what about after-school staff meetings?"
Never heard another peep.


C8H10N4O2 · 26/09/2018 13:46

I don’t pay taxes to buy your husband a passport

You pay taxes to support the education system, largely staffed by people who subsidise it out of their own wages, however low those wages may be. If the school wants someone without a passport to travel on their behalf they should pay for it. Its not part of a TA role to be available for international travel.

If he’s not able to travel overseas then he shouldn’t volunteer for overseas trips.

He didn't. Read the OP posts.


MissEliza · 26/09/2018 13:49

Of course they should pay for his passport. He shouldn't be out of pocket when he will already be doing many unpaid hours on the trip. My dh travels a lot and his company pay for any visas needed. I don't see any difference.


MissEliza · 26/09/2018 13:53

Cholka perhaps the taxpayer could actually pay for all the extra hours this man will spend on this trip. He could easily afford the £75 then.


Drummingisfun · 26/09/2018 13:57

I don't think it would be unreasonable for the school to fund hire of ski gear for him for the week. Most of the students will need to hire gear on site, it is often included in the ski package with the companies that provide to school groups. It may even be included for the accompanying adults too.
I'm surprised they are struggling for staff though, in all the schools I've worked in staff are keen as mustard to on the ski trip. The kids are in ski school all day so you get a good 4 hours a day of child free skiing for free. Granted you are on duty 24/7 but for most that's worth it for the skiing.


Kolo · 26/09/2018 14:15

School staff definitely don’t have to go on school residential or trips outside of normal working hours. Your husband should not be pressured into it (although I’m sure he is being as it’s realy hard to get enough volunteers to give up a week of their time completely unpaid based on sheer good will). School residentials can be a really amazing experience and so much can be personally and professionally gained from them. But they are really hard work and completely exhausting.

Also to add, a high cost trip like a skiing holiday might usually be planned 2 yeas in advance in order to spread the cost and the admin. Even if you’ve got your full complement of volunteers and some ‘reserves’ at the start, so much can change with a schools staffing in 2 years. Staff leave, get ill, get pregnant, get married, suffer the loss of a family member. There’s so many reasons why volunteers pull out of a trip.


RiddleyW · 26/09/2018 14:22

My friend because her husband was terminally ill allowed her passport to lapse for a few years. You have no idea how hard it is to start from scratch. Just saying......

It’s not hard at all, what a weird comment. My passport lapsed for a while because I was too lazy to sort it. I then had to travel so I got one. What are the hard bits you’re alluding mysteriously to with your ellipses?


altiara · 26/09/2018 14:36

He needs to tell the assistant head he “can’t afford the passport and the ski clothes, I’m a TA not a teacher”. Unfortunately your DH said he was willing to go but didn’t have a passport. That’s VERY different to I don’t want or can’t afford a passport. The first conversation should’ve been no, I can’t do xxx.


CoughLaughFart · 26/09/2018 15:00

My (Fortune 500) company certainly wouldn’t. They expect you to have a valid passport and that is your responsibility.

Yes, but your (Fortune 500) company probably also expects people to travel for their jobs. This is a role that would not usually involve overseas travel and the OP’s partner is being asked to volunteer for something extra.


twoshedsjackson · 26/09/2018 15:26

In the days when schools were better-funded, I was asked to step into the breach at short notice once, and had none of the usual friends available to look after the cats. They paid for me to put them in a cattery. As I didn't usually have to supervise children on a Saturday or Sunday, or drive my own car from London to Devon and back, I think they still got their money's worth. But in these straitened times, when parents are subsidising the glue stick supply, I doubt that would even be an option.


easyandy101 · 26/09/2018 15:30

I needed to get a passport to satisfy some security aspect of an old job and I told them if that's the case then they should pay, which they did with no question


MrsStrowman · 26/09/2018 15:33

If he's not having to pay for the trip, £75 is a bargain to go skiing!


C8H10N4O2 · 26/09/2018 15:48

If he's not having to pay for the trip, £75 is a bargain to go skiing!

Its not a holiday. Its 24*7 supporting and supervising a bunch of teens with special needs. Mostly unpaid.

Its a bargain for the school getting a lot of free work from an already low paid employee.

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