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    Former MSE Debs
    Real-life MMD: Should I pay fixed contribution for teacher's gift?
    • #1
    • 29th Jul 13, 1:11 PM
    Real-life MMD: Should I pay fixed contribution for teacher's gift? 29th Jul 13 at 1:11 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I pay fixed contribution for teacher's gift?

    My son's school collects money at the end of each year to buy a gift for the teacher and teaching assistant. I've nothing against either of them, but I think it's outrageous the school asks for £25 from each pupil. It's not a small sum and I told my son I won't be paying it on principle, but he got very upset and said he'd save up his pocket money instead because he doesn't want to be the odd one out. I wrote to the teacher to suggest a charity donation instead - she said she'd prefer John Lewis vouchers! Should I pay it for my son's sake, or make a stand?

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    Last edited by Former MSE Debs; 30-07-2013 at 3:56 PM.
Page 1
    • janiebquick
    • By janiebquick 30th Jul 13, 5:03 PM
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    • #2
    • 30th Jul 13, 5:03 PM
    • #2
    • 30th Jul 13, 5:03 PM
    It sounds a nice idea for the school to ask for contributions towards a present for the teaching staff, but I do wonder what planet whoever thought a contribution of £25 was acceptable lives on. I would have thought that a maximum contribution of a fiver was more than enough! Multiplied by 30, a total of around £150 split between two people is enough to buy something fairly substantial.

    I suggest you make a complaint to the governors about this as I doubt you are the only parent who feels this way.

    If it were me, I would not pay it on principle, no matter how good the staff have been.
    Last edited by janiebquick; 03-08-2013 at 10:28 PM.
    • gayleygoo
    • By gayleygoo 30th Jul 13, 5:24 PM
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    • #3
    • 30th Jul 13, 5:24 PM
    • #3
    • 30th Jul 13, 5:24 PM
    That is ridiculous, yes! A couple of years ago a local radio station was talking about the same thing, only it was £10 per pupil the school was asking for and that was considered too much by many parents' standards! £25 is more than I'd spend on any present (outside of my immediate family anyway), and multiplied by 30 children that's £750, which is quite a lot! If I were the teacher I'm not sure I'd be happy about that either - all that money coming from the children's families when they probably have better things to do with it than John Lewis vouchers
    Talk to your son and explain that it is an unreasonable request from the school, and he should have nothing to feel left out about. If another child demanded he handed his money over it would be bullying, the school staff should not stoop to that level! I wouldn't give more than £5, or a small gift to each teacher, and would complain to the school board about how your son has been made to feel about it -the school is there for his benefit, not the teachers summer shopping.
    • luxor4t
    • By luxor4t 30th Jul 13, 7:27 PM
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    • #4
    • 30th Jul 13, 7:27 PM
    • #4
    • 30th Jul 13, 7:27 PM
    Which school is that - Eton?

    When my kids were in primary pupils were asked if they would like to contribute a small amount (20P?) to a long-serving teacher's leaving gift, but that was after 30+ years in the same school.

    In all my years of teaching I have never heard of such an annual scheme. It's totally over the top.
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    • double mummy
    • By double mummy 30th Jul 13, 7:27 PM
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    double mummy
    • #5
    • 30th Jul 13, 7:27 PM
    • #5
    • 30th Jul 13, 7:27 PM
    teachers are paid to do their jobs its not like they are voluntary or something

    £25 is MAD £25 multiplies very quickly with multiple children

    i dont think that there should be any kind of collection teachers gifts used to be thanking someone who made that special effort for your child that year and should not just be the done thing

    you dont pay your GP money at the end of the year or any other people who give you and your children regular service

    most workers in the private sector are not allowed to accept gifts - my college tutors were not allowed to accept anything valued over £5 unless it was for the department then the limit was raised to £20

    I would ask the governors if they have a policy on gifts and if they dont why not?

    i think if the class wanted to get as present then each contribute and get a donation to a school (many schools do link ups with schools in africa etc)

    its nice to know you are being expected to add to the teachers salary i would actually laugh at the teacher when she said no to the charity donation

    you dont say how old your son is but if he is year 4+ i would take him out and show him £25 worth of food shopping and ask him which he would prefer having this amount of food or having nothing and i would not let him have his pocket money if he was just going to give it away (if he wanted to buy a card or a small £1-£2 gift i would let him)
    Last edited by double mummy; 30-07-2013 at 7:28 PM. Reason: cant spell
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  • Lagoon
    • #6
    • 30th Jul 13, 7:36 PM
    • #6
    • 30th Jul 13, 7:36 PM
    That's absolutely disgusting. I'm shocked that there's an 'expected contribution' at all, let alone a £25 one.

    Teachers are paid to do what they do. It's terrible not just that this is happening but that the children are aware of it.

    I would absolutely refuse to pay. It would take A LOT of explaining to that poor child, but he shouldn't be stuck in the middle at all. The teacher saying that she'd 'prefer John Lewis vouchers', too? Wow...
  • delv
    • #7
    • 30th Jul 13, 7:50 PM
    • #7
    • 30th Jul 13, 7:50 PM
    As a teacher, I have to say I find that ridiculous. I don't EXPECT any gifts/money at the end of term. A card or a verbal thank you is more than enough. A lot of parents realise that we often do things we aren't actually payed to do. E.g, driving children to and from sports matches, supervising after school clubs e.t.c and a thank you is appreciated. But to expect to be given money by every child in the class is laughable. I feel very sorry for the child in question.
  • Bargaineer
    • #8
    • 30th Jul 13, 8:16 PM
    • #8
    • 30th Jul 13, 8:16 PM
    Surely the taxman should be aware of this additional income?
    • 3400581
    • By 3400581 30th Jul 13, 8:18 PM
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    • #9
    • 30th Jul 13, 8:18 PM
    Do they declare it on Tax Return?
    • #9
    • 30th Jul 13, 8:18 PM
    Tell them where to get off. Teaching is a vocation and devoting your time ti developing and nurturing our young should be reward enough. I would also mention that you will be notifying the Inland Revenue as it is declarable income especially as it is not optional. The school may have a change of heart. Also do the school governors know/approve?
    • elsien
    • By elsien 30th Jul 13, 8:20 PM
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    Surely the taxman should be aware of this additional income?
    Originally posted by Bargaineer
    Vouchers aren't taxable.
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  • quinechinoise
    Contribute a smaller sum? The child obviously wants to give something, however, I don't see why it must be the sum suggested. If any parents complain, tell them you can't afford more. OTOH... if you can afford more, then it becomes harder to make a stand (assuming you were happy with the standard of teaching that year).

    It's not hugely different to tipping your hairdresser or giving your postie a Christmas box.
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 30th Jul 13, 8:35 PM
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    This is madness. It is bad for your child, it is not good for your budgeting & it is ludicrous for the school to support this.
    That the teacher would like the vouchers (charitably) suggests she missed the catch & it looks like your son will be in the crossfire.
    Write to the teacher, copied into the Head & the chair of Governors. As a now-ceased Critical Friend, I'd be horrified at the suggestion, let alone the reply! £25 is a lot of money, and if school is ready to ask for that for staff, then I really hope they are accounting for it, correctly, in full.
    Meanwhile I'd send in a 'present for the teacher' - a box with a mask, a sack labelled Swag & an (empty) water pistol, labelled with the note "bank robbing kit - collect £25 from your nearest bank".
    (The staff know me, my family, my gruesome sense of humour - my school would laugh. Yours needs a nudge.)
    • louisekatie31
    • By louisekatie31 30th Jul 13, 8:37 PM
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    If your children want to give a gift to their teacher it should be something thoughtful, something they made or something drawn. Maybe give them a budget of a couple of pounds and let them pick something themselves from a shop. It should never be forced!
  • Bargaineer
    Vouchers aren't taxable.
    Originally posted by elsien
    I'm not an expert at this but this is a tip / gratuity in the form of a voucher with a cash value so hmrc seems to indicate it is but correct me if I'm wrong.
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 30th Jul 13, 8:43 PM
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    No way is this acceptable!!I am also a teacher albeit supply, but even on permanent contracts never expect gifts from the kids at the end of term.Home made cards are enough for me
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    • Funky Bold Ribena
    • By Funky Bold Ribena 30th Jul 13, 8:47 PM
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    Funky Bold Ribena
    £25 from each pupil - with 30 pupils is £750 between them.

    I'd not pay that on principle. John Lewis vouchers indeed.
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    • dawn27
    • By dawn27 30th Jul 13, 8:51 PM
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    i think if the class wanted to get as present then each contribute and get a donation to a school (many schools do link ups with schools in africa etc)

    Much better idea in my opinion, £750 to a third world school would be put to much better use than buying tat from John Lewis she proberly doesn't even need.

    I would donate to a charity in their name, put it in an envelope and give it to the teacher.

    A thank you should be more than enough for doing a job you are already paid for
  • julie2710
    £25 per child Wow I think I'm going to retrain as a teacher and get a job there!

    In my sons' school the class rep organises the gift for the teacher and everyone usually puts in £10 to cover the teacher and teaching assistant. There's usually only 10-12 pupils per class so the total isn't that high. If people have more than one child in the school or are jus a bit hard up they can put in less or nothing. It's organised via the parents not the children so no child feels stigmatised if their parents don't contribute.

    I also think John Lewis vouchers are incredibly impersonal and in the past we have done things like get the children to draw pictures and get them printed on a vase or put together a book with messages from the children. I doubt a teacher would remember a particular class when she spends what sounds like it would be £300+ of vouchers!!
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    • Tiggy10
    • By Tiggy10 30th Jul 13, 9:12 PM
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    As a teacher i find this disgusting! It makes teachers look like money grabbers, which infact most are not!
    I dont expect anything at the end of the year, I chose to do my job and I get paid to do what i do. i dont expect the parents of my children to pay for anything for myself. I teach in a deprived area and was terribly surprised, grateful (and surprised to receive some chocolates, flowers and drawings from the chn)

    John Lewis vouchers?? Im sure you cant be the only parent at your school who finds this outrageous!
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    • WestonDave
    • By WestonDave 30th Jul 13, 9:16 PM
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    I'm not an expert at this but this is a tip / gratuity in the form of a voucher with a cash value so hmrc seems to indicate it is but correct me if I'm wrong.
    Originally posted by Bargaineer
    I'd agree with you - its cash value vouchers administered by the employer so would be taxable - otherwise everyone would get paid in Sainsbury's vouchers and pay no tax!

    As for £25 per head - absolutely taking the proverbial and no chance I'd pay it!
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