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Money Moral Dilemma: Should the school have paid?

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Former_MSE_Penelope
Former_MSE_Penelope Posts: 536 Forumite
edited 20 July 2010 at 8:36PM in MoneySaving polls
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Should the school have paid?
My son's school hired a theatre group for a play for the children. Parents had to pay £5 towards the cost and were also allowed to watch the show. Beforehand I noticed four young children being taken aside and told that they couldn't watch because their parents hadn't paid. Should the school have to pay to stop these kids missing out or is it only fair as other parents paid?
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  • scotsbob
    scotsbob Posts: 4,632 Forumite
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    Maybe the parents didn't want their children to see the show and that's why they didn't buy tickets.

    Suppose it had been 40 children instead of 4, should the school still cover the costs?

    if they don't have tickets they don't go,
  • ShakeyStacey
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    It's a tricky one because I'd hate for any child to be seperated and feel left out because of their parents financial situation. At the school I went to everyone paid slightly more than the cost of the trip and this money went in a fund for underpriveledged children to be able to go. We never knew who these kids were, only selected staff and the kids themselves ever knew, and I think this is a very fair way of doing things. However if the parents don't want them to see the play, that's a completely different matter.
    I have been told that by law, schools are not allowed to charge for school trips, check the wording, most schools will ask for a "volountary contribution" towards the cost of the trip, the catch being that if the funds aren't raised, the trip will be cancelled. Of course I'm going back at least 4 years. Things might have changed, but I can't imagine any child being pulled out of a trip because their parents couldn't afford it.
  • bubbles0169
    bubbles0169 Posts: 6,230 Forumite
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    that is what happens in our local school stacey,not enough funds raised and it doesnt go ahead, it would be really cruel to take the children out! so yes they should get to see it as there should be some contingency to deal with that an if not? as i said it would be too cruel!
    I am not bossy I just have better ideas:p
  • Sbarkia
    Sbarkia Posts: 55 Forumite
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    Of course the school should have paid. No child should be made to feel different just because their parents can't afford something which is presumably considered as being part of their education if it is taking place on school premises and presumably in school time.
  • snugglepet20
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    I have felt like the poor kid and it sucks, to the extent where I would happily pay extra so everyone could go. However no-one knows why these parents did not pay (assuming they want the children to see the play), maybe they have been made redundant or maybe they are scum who spent the money on cider, either way it's not the children's fault is it? (BTW my parents weren't poor they just hung out with the mega-rich!)
  • Grumpyrallyswife
    Grumpyrallyswife Posts: 2 Newbie
    edited 21 July 2010 at 12:02AM
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    There are rules for schools to follow on this sort of thing - if the activity/trip/event is part of the school curriculum (i.e. going to see a play because it is being studied as part of their schoolwork, or a field trip for geography) the school can ask for a contribution but cannot exclude a child on the basis that they haven't paid.

    However if the activity in question is an 'extra' then usually the school has an idea who will pay or won't and sets the price accordingly - anyone with a genuine hardship would usually be able to approach the school for help. However this is at the discretion of the school.

    It also depends on the age of the children - primary school kids are going to be less able to deal with exclusion than secondary school age maybe.

    One to also bear in mind - my son went to school with a girl that never used to take the letters home because she knew her Mum couldn't afford the trips... this family was one that could really do with the help but were sometimes too proud to ask.
  • Galadriel49
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    It's my understanding that it was made illegal for schools to demand parents pay for outings etc, they can only ask for voluntary donations.
    At my childrens school all requests clearly state that the charge is voluntary but that if they don't receive enough contributions then the trip/activity will not go ahead. Of course most people are happy to pay, but no child is excluded if their parents don't/can't pay. They also have a rule that if you have several children at the school, you only need to pay for the first two.
  • Den
    Den Posts: 432 Forumite
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    Kids should not be separated and made feel different. Children should not be reminded another time how difficult life can be, if parents cannot afford to pay.
    Have you got something to share - Do it.
    When you don't know - Ask.
  • Talent
    Talent Posts: 244 Forumite
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    Yes, what if the parents didn't want them to go on a particular trip? Then you took them. Problems hey! There will always be parents not divvying up for anything. They are always parents that don't contribute towards galas and fundraising events. Some simply can't afford it or can't afford the time. The main thing is not to hurt the kids because of the parents. If school is doing it's job, they know. In the 50's kids were made to feel like pariahs for having free school dinners. I don't know the answer. Sorry!!
  • oldnewhand
    oldnewhand Posts: 80 Forumite
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    It's a tricky one because I'd hate for any child to be seperated and feel left out because of their parents financial situation. At the school I went to everyone paid slightly more than the cost of the trip and this money went in a fund for underpriveledged children to be able to go. We never knew who these kids were, only selected staff and the kids themselves ever knew, and I think this is a very fair way of doing things. However if the parents don't want them to see the play, that's a completely different matter.
    I have been told that by law, schools are not allowed to charge for school trips, check the wording, most schools will ask for a "volountary contribution" towards the cost of the trip, the catch being that if the funds aren't raised, the trip will be cancelled. Of course I'm going back at least 4 years. Things might have changed, but I can't imagine any child being pulled out of a trip because their parents couldn't afford it.
    Writing as a recently retired teacher my understanding is as yours, the charge is a voluntary contribution, as this ia all that can be asked for. Others have mentioned IF it's part of the curriculum; if the performance is during the school day then it should be part of the curriculum. The large primary school in which I taught always budgetted a little over the actual cost to cover none paying pupils. Parents experiencing financial difficulty were always free to discuss this privately with the head and were encouraged to make whatever donation (if any) they felt able to make. As teachers we did try to find affordable venues but it was usually the coach that cost an awful lot of money even when we timed it to fit in with the coach company's school runs to get a cheaper rate.
    During my whole career only once was a trip cancelled due to lack of funds. This was due to a significant group of "savvy" parents pleading poverty and others jumping on the freebie band wagon so sufficent revenue was not raised. On some occasions a small shortfall would be funded by the school, but on this occasion the situation snowballed out of hand due to greed rather than need. A few super parents would actually make an additional voluntary donation (not necessarily those who could most afford it either).
    The teacher's biggest nightmare was getting parents to sign the consent form without which we could not take the child on a trip. Unfortunately my school did not have one blanket trip consent form; each and every trip had one and usually the day prior to the trip you had to try and establish contact with the last few parents to get the signature.
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