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  • FIRST POST
    Former MSE Penelope
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should the school have paid?
    • #1
    • 19th Jul 10, 5:36 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should the school have paid? 19th Jul 10 at 5:36 PM
    This is a real life MMD so please bear in mind the MoneySaver in question will read your responses:

    Please give this MoneySaver the benefit of your advice...

    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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    Last edited by Former MSE Lee; 20-07-2010 at 8:36 PM.
Page 1
    • scotsbob
    • By scotsbob 20th Jul 10, 10:04 PM
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    scotsbob
    • #2
    • 20th Jul 10, 10:04 PM
    • #2
    • 20th Jul 10, 10:04 PM
    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
    • By ShakeyStacey 20th Jul 10, 11:05 PM
    • 34 Posts
    • 49 Thanks
    ShakeyStacey
    • #3
    • 20th Jul 10, 11:05 PM
    • #3
    • 20th Jul 10, 11:05 PM
    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
    • By bubbles0169 20th Jul 10, 11:47 PM
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    bubbles0169
    • #4
    • 20th Jul 10, 11:47 PM
    • #4
    • 20th Jul 10, 11:47 PM
    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
    • Sbarkia
    • By Sbarkia 20th Jul 10, 11:55 PM
    • 55 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    Sbarkia
    • #5
    • 20th Jul 10, 11:55 PM
    • #5
    • 20th Jul 10, 11:55 PM
    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
    • #6
    • 20th Jul 10, 11:57 PM
    • #6
    • 20th Jul 10, 11:57 PM
    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
    • #7
    • 20th Jul 10, 11:58 PM
    Depends on whether it's part of the Curriculum...
    • #7
    • 20th Jul 10, 11:58 PM
    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.
    Last edited by Grumpyrallyswife; 21-07-2010 at 12:02 AM.
    • Galadriel49
    • By Galadriel49 21st Jul 10, 12:07 AM
    • 7 Posts
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    Galadriel49
    • #8
    • 21st Jul 10, 12:07 AM
    • #8
    • 21st Jul 10, 12:07 AM
    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
    • #9
    • 21st Jul 10, 12:17 AM
    • #9
    • 21st Jul 10, 12:17 AM
    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
    • By Talent 21st Jul 10, 12:54 AM
    • 244 Posts
    • 219 Thanks
    Talent
    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
    • By oldnewhand 21st Jul 10, 1:02 AM
    • 77 Posts
    • 84 Thanks
    oldnewhand
    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.
    Originally posted by ShakeyStacey
    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.
  • linzi268
    This is a horrible situation. How can you legislate against the children for the sins of their parents? On the other hand, it does need to be made clear to the parents that this could nor be an ongoing situation. Perhaps said parents could be informed well in adance on future occasions to give them the chance to save the money. In the meantime, could the PTA not have taken up the slack? After all, money raised by them is for the benefit of the pupils.

    Are the rules different in Scottish schools? I don't ever remember being asked for a voluntary donation for any school trips. I'm pretty sure there was a set rate for each trip but my memory may be playing tricks on me!
    • jenniewb
    • By jenniewb 21st Jul 10, 3:47 AM
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    jenniewb
    Depends on the situation. Some parents don't like their children watching certain things under religious reasons or cultural differences (or both).

    The school could have called the parents beforehand and asked if there was a reason, if not asked for payment and if no payment were to be made, find out why. If it was a cash-flow problem they could have looked into why: had a parent just lost a job? had a divorce? then maybe allowances could have been made, but maybe not if it was simple overspending.

    If there was more then two children, I don't think theres any problem with having the children do something else if the parents didn't want to pay up, the children can keep each other company and theres no need for any sort of homework or punishment, they could have gone to the park. However, just one child? I'd want to question that with the parent.

    Too simple a question to answer with one word MSE!
    • SamW
    • By SamW 21st Jul 10, 6:58 AM
    • 324 Posts
    • 7,335 Thanks
    SamW
    As far as I know (I am a teacher)...
    Like Grumpyrallyswife said, school's technically can only ask for a voluntary contribution for such an activity (especially if they expect all children to attend). As such, school's calculate how much it would cost per child and then generally speculate that around 10% of the children (or their parents/carers) will not pay and work that in accordingly. It might not be the case at this establishment, but at mine we wouldn't not allow the children to watch... but we might ask for the money directly from the parents afterwards in a roundabout way e.g. 'so and so enjoyed the play/pantomime/production today' - it normally reminds the parents quite well!
    The only way that a child cannot watch or participate in an activity is if they have been withdrawn formally from part of the curriculum or the activity by their parents/carers (e.g. for religious or personal reasons).
  • tabithakated
    a few years ago my daughter asked for 3.50 to see santa at school, she was lucky i had it as it was that day and no letters had been sent home. when i asked about it later that eve she told me she got a pressent but gave it to a friend who had forgotton her money and was told to sit outside the room while all the other kids in her class went into see him. i was horrified how a school could do this to a child.
    • beemuzed
    • By beemuzed 21st Jul 10, 7:22 AM
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    beemuzed
    Recently retired primary head here - schools can only ask for a voluntary contribution. If the event is in school time children can't be excluded just because their parents haven't paid. Of course, if the parents don't want their children to attend (sometimes happens on religious grounds) that's a different matter - but children musn't miss out on grounds of cost. As others have said, if it's a trip out and insufficient funds are forthcoming, then maybe the trip can't go ahead, but that's a different matter - it's certainly not right to exclude a few.
    Resolution:
    Think twice before spending anything!
  • lyndorset
    Problem is it sets a precedent. Then what if next time, 20 extra younger kids turned up. No room for the schools own students who it s for!

    These parents should have rung ahead and checked. In fact I think they were very cheeky turning up with extra children.
  • Judith Proctor
    Most of the replies seem to be assuming that there was a school trip to see the play, but the way I'm reading the post is that the theatre group came to the school.

    That means that the legislation relating to school trips would not apply.

    We're also not told whether the performance was during school hours. That would affect whether the play was part of the curriculum or not. (The fact that parents were allowed to watch suggests that it might have been in the evening.)
    • gaily
    • By gaily 21st Jul 10, 8:01 AM
    • 188 Posts
    • 157 Thanks
    gaily
    Ouch
    That's not very nice telling a group of kids, on the day, when all their mates are excited, that they can't come in.....

    As a mother of twins who was dreading the first school trip as i'd have to pay for the pair of them (rather than split the cost over 2 separate outings as i would with kids of differing ages.) I was pleasantly suprised by the schools attitude that although the cost was 13, it was a voluntary contribution, and they only expected each family to contribute once!!

    I thought schools now had to operate on the basis of 'contributions' - certainly for things going on in school through the day (which is how the question appears). If Mum & Dad couldn't afford it, and it was part of the curriculum, then the children should not be penalised.

    For a performance outside school hours, or away from the school premises, then I can see that the rules may be slightly different, but in that scenario, the parents shouldn't have sent their kids to the therate (or to school for transport to the theatre, or the perfomance if an evening thing at the school)

    This sort of thing should be worked out in advance so as not to embarrass the kids involved. It can dent a young persons self esteem - especially if Mum/Dad forgot to pay, rather than were incapable.....

    (to all those non parents out there, it can happen to the most elephant-like of us occasionally when you've got little ones underfoot!)
    Always on the hunt for a bargain. :rolleyes:

    Always grateful for any hints, tips or guidance as to where the best deals are
    • bobmccluckie
    • By bobmccluckie 21st Jul 10, 8:37 AM
    • 60 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    bobmccluckie
    Schools are forbidden from doing this. They have clearly breached Govt guidelines.
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