Monday, 10 June 2013

Why does school cost so much?

When I was at school, the only money I remember taking in was for the school photo, the annual sponsored silence and the end of year trip to Stanley Park. Sometimes, if we were lucky we also got to buy a book from the Bookworm Club.

But things seem to have changed. A lot. Since the beginning of May we've had requests for money from school, totalling £85. Here's what we've been asked for:

Thomas' trip to Blackpool Zoo - £13
Amy's trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach - £25
Spending money for Amy in Blackpool - school recommend £10
Sponsored Score a Goal - £10 
Sponsored Charity Walk - £10
Young Writers Book - £17

As with many things in life choices have to be made so we decided on these:

School Trips:  They will both go on these but Amy will only take £5 spends. She will take her own packed lunch and the £25 covers the writstband for all rides.

Sponsored Score a Goal:  This was at Thomas' school. Prizes ranged from a keyring if you raised £10 to a football if you raised a whopping £70+! For this every child got to kick a ball 3 times into a net.  However, Thomas already has a football and after speaking to him it became obvious his desire to own a keyring was non-existent, so school got a token donation of £2 and Thomas still got to kick the ball.

Sponsored walk: Every child in Amy's school does an annual 6 mile walk for charity.  This year they've chosen cancer research and school have recommended each child should try to raise at least £10. Now, I don't have a problem with raising money for charity, but I do have a problem with being told how much I'm expected to raise. It's for a good cause though and Amy will take in £10.

Young Writer's Book:  Thomas brought a letter home saying he's written a great story and it's been chosen to be published in a book, which of course we can buy - for £17. The work was sent home for me to look at and although it's good, we certainly don't need to find a publishing agent just yet! Having worked in the office at a primary school for 3 years I know a fair few children will have gone home with the same letter. I will not be buying the book.

So, all in all the past month could have cost me £85.  Even having filtered the requests, it will still cost me £55.
On top of this we also have school photos, show tickets, book fairs, charity days, the summer BBQ, the Christmas Fair and the 'voluntary contributions' for educational trips, (which aren't voluntary at all because if you don't contribute they send a letter asking for it). And don't even get me started on money spent trying to create Easter bonnets and fancy dress costumes for Christmas, the end of term party and world book day.

Now I'm not pleading poverty, but we don't have a bottomless pit of money here at Number 38. The whole thing really annoys me though.  Do schools have no idea of the financial struggle most households are going through at the moment? The whole thing has gotten completely out of hand and it needs to stop.  The ironic thing is if you sit in a staffroom the main topic of conversation from teachers, most of whom are on a fairly good wage, is usually about how broke they are.

So, come on schools, we're all supposed to be in this together.  How about joining the real world, getting back to basics and bringing back the sponsored silence and Stanley Park.  Or am I just being a Mean Old Mum?


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