School Trip Costs

Curious to know if other parents share my concerns – my children attend a state school, and this year alone, I'm expected to pay £23.50 for a pantomime trip and a whopping £245 for a two-day residential for my Year 7 child. My Year 5 child has similar trips, and I'm anticipating a bill of around £500+. We're not in financial distress, but we do make careful decisions about our spending. I called the school, and while they offered financial assistance, I'm hesitant to take it, feeling it might be better suited for families in more challenging situations. Am I alone in finding these school trip costs steep, or do other parents share similar sentiments?
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  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,418
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    the schools can't charge for events in school time and can't ask parents to contribute, they just rely on everyone else doing so  - agree can be hard to accept the offered assistance if you can afford the event - though once I did as I felt the event (one of several that year ) was completely pointless, I contacted the school basically to say that there were to many events and some people may struggle to afford them at which point the the school emailed back and said  - no problem, we'll pay. 

    The best way to handle this is through a parents association discussion as there are bound to be many feeling the same way - other option would be to right to the governors.

    Just thinking back we also had an approx £300 for a short trip abroad (some years back) - very well planned by school as they did it every year, you could send 6 * £50 post dated cheques (yes that long ago) - so could pay over 6 months 
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,760
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    Often these trips are priced so that there is extra in the cost to cover the few that can't pay. On top of that there will be some school fund somewhere set aside to pay for some who can't pay.

    I remember one trip that was so expensive, the only kids signed up to do it were those whose parents expected to be getting it free. Those who would actually be paying had decided it was too expensive to justify. The trip ended up being cancelled.
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  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,025
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    edited 9 January at 10:41AM
    Panto is probably a reasonable cost. 2 night trip, I think I only paid £50ish less for similar and my kids are now in their 20s.

    What my childs Primary school did was have a 'friends of'  (like a PTA) running that fund raised and the money was used to cap all day trips (not residentials) at £10. Made it easier to budget when you knew upfront that you'd only have to pay a tenner - obviously this is a decade+ ago, so if the school still runs the same scheme  will be higher cap now. Something to suggest, get involved in? 
  • annabanana82
    annabanana82 Posts: 2,945
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    My Son's school gave 6 months notice of a trip to Spain 3 nights at a cost of £650! Knowing a 2 week holiday could be had for a similar price that was declined. 

    I have declined to pay for 1 school trip for each of my children, due to the poor reviews of where they were going. I told the school they could either stay in school or the school could pay for them - they all went. 

    I think the schools get that some parents can't afford all the trios and certainly overnight ones no child can be expected to attend those ones.

    We do a foreign trip with a voluntary organisation I support, and we manage to do around 12 days for £500 Inc flights. Our policy is that no child will be excluded for financial reasons, help is given in fundraising and group funds. Adult volunteers pay £100 towards the cost of the trip. 
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  • Bluebell1000
    Bluebell1000 Posts: 1,059
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    I agree, the costs really do start to add up! My eldest has just reached secondary, and I'm expecting a few trips (panto was £15). Both my children really want to go to a summer camp this year, and they don't actually need 'stuff' so our approach was to ask relatives if they would like to contribute towards that in lieu of presents. For the future we'll probably do similar if there's an expensive school trip coming up that they really want to go on.


  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,418
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    silvercar said:

    I remember one trip that was so expensive, the only kids signed up to do it were those whose parents expected to be getting it free. Those who would actually be paying had decided it was too expensive to justify. The trip ended up being cancelled.
    I have heard of that happening too 
  • Stateofart
    Stateofart Posts: 265
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    edited 9 January at 11:46AM
    As a teacher, we've found we're are doing less and less trips year on year due to multiple factors.  The biggest is cost, our annual London trip ended as the transport was too expensive.  It's not just cost, it's apathy as well.  Even our free trips don't happen because students can't be bothered to go and even though we put £150 towards trips, students generally can't even be bothered to access it even though it's free money.
  • Tucosalamanca
    Tucosalamanca Posts: 446
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    I don't have concerns, kids take time and money.
    I knew this before starting a family and it's been a learning curve ever since.

    Pre-school trips to pantomime or local community farm etc cost a few pounds.
    Primary school will cost more, residential trips up to a couple of hundred pounds.
    At secondary, costs can spiral. You have the odd days out, sporting events, the short trips to Paris, Barcelona and so on.
    Then there's skiing, I think our secondary is approaching £1,500 this year, this is coach to Italy, with skiwear on top.
    Duke of Edinburgh awards, Ten Tors Challenge (I'm guessing similar in other parts of the country), all cost £££ for the equipment. Our school has a 'store' of secondhand to buy/borrow for those who can't/don't want to buy all new.
    Next year, there's the option to do a three week visit to Tanzania (School has previously done Belize and other destinations). Costs will be around £6,000, with the pupils expected to get sponsorship.

    But all of this is only trivial compared to what's needed for University. 
    Tuition and maintenance loans don't even cover fees and accommodation.
    Food, transport, clothes, social life, textbooks etc all need to be paid for.

    Bottom line is that sacrifices need to be made.
    Working harder, cost cutting, sacrificing treats, giving up free time to volunteer, perhaps taking on debt. 
    Lots of planning, not being able to do everything offered.
    There's some good life lessons in there, hopefully the kids learn responsibility (along with everything else) and go on to make a success of their lives....
  • Beeboo23
    Beeboo23 Posts: 183
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    I don't have concerns, kids take time and money.
    I knew this before starting a family and it's been a learning curve ever since.

    Pre-school trips to pantomime or local community farm etc cost a few pounds.
    Primary school will cost more, residential trips up to a couple of hundred pounds.
    At secondary, costs can spiral. You have the odd days out, sporting events, the short trips to Paris, Barcelona and so on.
    Then there's skiing, I think our secondary is approaching £1,500 this year, this is coach to Italy, with skiwear on top.
    Duke of Edinburgh awards, Ten Tors Challenge (I'm guessing similar in other parts of the country), all cost £££ for the equipment. Our school has a 'store' of secondhand to buy/borrow for those who can't/don't want to buy all new.
    Next year, there's the option to do a three week visit to Tanzania (School has previously done Belize and other destinations). Costs will be around £6,000, with the pupils expected to get sponsorship.

    But all of this is only trivial compared to what's needed for University. 
    Tuition and maintenance loans don't even cover fees and accommodation.
    Food, transport, clothes, social life, textbooks etc all need to be paid for.

    Bottom line is that sacrifices need to be made.
    Working harder, cost cutting, sacrificing treats, giving up free time to volunteer, perhaps taking on debt. 
    Lots of planning, not being able to do everything offered.
    There's some good life lessons in there, hopefully the kids learn responsibility (along with everything else) and go on to make a success of their lives....
    Are your kids at a state school or private? £6k for a school trip is crazy and I personally don’t think families should take on debt to pay for trips. 
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