Friday, 23 June 2017

Photo 24

I'm sorry but this is a moaning post, so if you don't fancy me wittering on about school, click off now. 

We received a letter from Thomas' High School yesterday saying that a Team Building Induction day has been organised during the last week of September at a cost of £35.

As usual, and this is really beginning to annoy me because whenever money is concerned it's always the same, if you are a pupil who meets the criteria you don't have to pay. I'm sorry, but I'm getting mightily fed up of this. The odd bit of money here and there is OK and I try not to think too much about who isn't having to cough up again, but asking for £35 to do a bit of building and archery when a good percentage of children won't be paying is taking the mickey.  

It's so the pupils can get to know each other. What a load of tosh. Many of them are going with friends from primary and those they don't know on the first day they probably will do by 25th September when this is taking place. 

So I've sent an e-mail to the school asking why they can't all just walk down to the local park where there's a big field and at a cost of £0.00 for everybody concerned do a bit of team building there.

For goodness sake, they're 11 years old. Who thinks up this c**p that costs some parents money. And it's not about not being able to afford it, it's about always having to pay. 

As yet I've not received a reply and because I don't want a photo of my angry face on here today's photo is a random one of Thomas blowing bubbles.


xxx




22 comments:

  1. Argh!!! I'd be spitting feathers Suzanne. Where on earth do they get these prices from, and as you quite rightly say, what is the point of it? They will have plenty of years ahead of them to bond if they haven't already done so by the time this takes place.
    A friend of mine has twins so you can imagine how she felt every time she had a request like this.
    I do hope you'll update us with their response. X

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    1. I will definitely update you with their response Jules. There were a few other questions as well so it'll be interesting to hear from them.

      There is no point to it at all - well none that can't be made during school hours or on the school field. The main cost will be the coach which is why I asked why they couldn't all walk to the park. And they can't get out of that on H&S because every year they do a six mile walk for charity and the park is only about 1 mile away so easily do-able.

      I always wanted twins to get it over and done with in one go, but never considered the financial side :) I feel sorry for your friend with what they're always requesting/charging at school these days. xx

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  2. That sounds a bit much for something that kids can do all by themselves, as you say, at the park, for nothing. Over here lots of schools do a welcome for the incoming new grade, it's usually the day before school starts. They have a bbq with hot dogs, hamburgers, salads and ice cream/popsicles. It is usually paid for by the school council (parents who fundraise for the school). Definitely no charge to the kids or parents. I have noticed, after reading your blog from the beginning, you seem to be paying out money on a regular basis to the school.

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    1. One of the teachers at Thomas' primary school does team building in his class every year. He rocks up with a few cheap tents, throws them on the field and gets the kids to make them. Then they camp out for the day. They love it and if anything requires teamwork it's camping!

      The welcome day at your schools sound fun and more than enough for children and parents to get involved in. You're right, we are always being asked for contributions for this that and the other. We've just had 3 non uniform days for the summer fair where the children took in cakes, chocolate and bottles. I don't mind things like that because you don't have to spend a lot if you don't want to, but it's a fair way of doing things. It's trips that are a different matter and that are beginning to annoy me. Either do it or don't but everybody should contribute. xx

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  3. There was probably a staff away day and someone threw in this idea and up it went on the flip chart to become enshrined as an action point. In reality children at that age are adept at getting to know each other without the process being 'facilitated'. The tyranny of the flip chart means some arenas get a £35 bill.

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    1. Philip - have you ever used a flipchart, much to the annoyance and expense of parents :):):)

      I don't get why they need to do it. There's the cost of a coach which we all know doesn't come cheap and it's not just the teachers organising it, it's a company who are obviously in it for making money.

      Honestly, if I ruled the world I'd throw a few tents on the school field and get them to put them up and then get the kitchen staff to bring out some hotdogs and burgers. Really, what more is needed to get to know each other. It's not even one big trip, it's a couple of groups going every day for the week, so they won't all get to know each other anyway! xx

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  4. Granted it has been a few years since I went to school in England but this doesn't seem like a very good idea. What happens if you simply do not attend? I wonder if you will get a response to your questions or some sort of generalized form response. Also, do,you know what the criteria is for not paying this outrageous charge?

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    1. I think if you didn't attend you would be marked in as an unauthorised absence, as pupils would probably still be expected to go in school and attend lessons. I wouldn't not pay because I don't want to make a point with Thomas, but I want answers to a few questions I've asked.

      The criteria is always if children are entitled to free school meals they are entitled to quite a lot where money is concerned. I know from working in the primary school around 40% of the children met this criteria and I think that's probably a pretty standard number in state schools especially in our borough. I also know there's plenty, (not all of course), parents smoking, drinking and drugging their way through life as well, there's always money for that.

      So there is an intake of 210 children in Year 7, around 80 probably wouldn't have to pay. Those numbers aren't set in stone, but I won't be far off.

      When Amy attended the school they usually replied to e-mails on the same day, but as yet I've not heard anything. Mind you, there were about 8 questions on there and as Mark says it's probably causing somebody a big headache having to find out the answers. xx

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  5. Things like this were never heard of when I went to school...or my kids for that matter. We just rolled up at school in September and got on with the business of making friends.
    The only bug bear was the kids of the more well to do parents going on the better school trips and us less well off kids having to stay behind at school and....to add insult to injury....do normal lessons.

    I think it is outrageous that you have to pay and some parents don't. I would certainly have kicked up a fuss about it.
    Hope it gets sorted.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. Yep, same here Sheila. I rolled up on the first day on my own as I'd attended a primary outside our borough and of course I couldn't carry on to their High School. No meet and greets or getting to know your form teacher or other pupils.

      I like the way they do it these days, it is so much better for pupils with induction days and school visits, but I really do not think paying £35 for a team building day 3 weeks after you've started school is necessary. Play football, join a club, talk to each other - no need for all this - it's stupid and expensive. Just think how much wool and fabric I could buy with £35! xx

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    2. Just to add I never went on a school holiday either. There were 4 of us and I was the eldest so I think Mum and Dad didn't want to set the standard too high for the others haha. Mind you, I didn't want to go anyway, I would have been homesick. xx

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  6. totally agree. it's a rubbish idea and most certainly should not cost 35 flipping quid!
    Next week Violet's year are going to go to a nearby primary school just to say hello and see the year six children who are going up to her high school. So they have a few familiar faces when they start in September. Now THAT is a surprisingly good idea, and one of the best to have been suggested. And it doesn't cost a penny.

    Will reply to your email later, waiting for troops to return so we can go and checkout yet another new store that opened today! xx

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    1. Like I said to Sheila, the way they do things these days is so much better for the children. I agree with open days and visits etc. in fact anything to help them feel more settled when they go can only be a positive. But a team building day, when they've been there 3 weeks is not necessary and certainly not when you have to pay for it especially when there's a perfectly good school field and park nearby.

      Meeting children from another school is an excellent idea - it's the simple things that are often the best. No need for coach trips, archery and rocket building - which I would just add, Thomas was really excited about until Mark told him it would be a wood/cardboard thing - not a real one hahahahaha! xx

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  7. I am utterly appaled by this demand as you can imagine. Our Learning Community had several events during P 7, including a sports activities event where the PE staff in the High School worked really hard to organise mixed teams from each associated primary-6 in all.We had liaison visits to the school and staff came to us to teach various lessons. The team bonding has definitely come from some manager who has been on a similar day, with aspirations to do great things. I'm sick of the situation where some of us have to pay for everything thrice over-ie our taxes are paying for the free meals, for the subsidy for those not paying and for our own children. I could go on and on but I'm sure you know I support you. If you want to throw a spanner in their works, ask how you can pay the money in instalments/get help to pay it and see what happens!! Catriona

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    1. It's good to know a Headteacher gets my point of view Catriona. Everything the schools in your community do sounds spot on and is exactly, and only the sort of thing needed. Even the words 'team building' smacks of management and the 90's when it was very much the 'in thing' at work. It's quite sad to see it filtering into schools in such a contrived way, rather than letting the children sort themselves out and naturally gravitate to each other.

      The parents of the children who meet the criteria are winners on both counts. They won't have to pay £10.50 that week for school dinners or the £35 for the trip. Other parents who don't qualify will be handing over £45.50. It's time it was all sorted out. I'm not against free dinners, I would hate for any child to go hungry, but working in a school you really do see what's happening in families and a lot of them have money for things that would easily cover lunches and trips. I'm just fed up of being financially penalised.

      I've asked if its considered an educational trip because if so I think the rules are nobody has to pay, but I'm not sure. Things have probably changed since I left education 5 years ago. xx

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  8. I don't blame you for being angry, I'm sure schools have marketing personnel somewhere thinking up new scams whoops I means schemes or maybe I was right in the first place! My daughter always says 'yep another begging letter'. We as grandparents have sponsored our grandchildren so often to do something or another. The school is always raising money for something and rely on people social conscience. I know my daughters and ours is wearing thin!

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    1. I just get annoyed that we're always expected to pay for things Tania. The assumption that just because children aren't getting free school meals means parents can afford £35 for a trip really annoys me. Everybody should contribute something because everybody will be taking part.

      The children who aren't paying will be funded which means that every child is still charged so 210 x £35 = £7,350. Compared to walking to the park somebody is making a hell of a lot of money out of this.

      It does seem to be something every week although over the past year or so Thomas' school has cooled off on a lot of the main events like Red Nose Day and Children in Need.

      The fair way for things like this should be charge everybody a little bit, not some people a lot. It makes my blood boil and I can understand you and your daughter getting fed up with the letters. xx

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    2. I agree there should be a token payment by everyone whatever your circumstances. I also hate it when they have to pay £1 to dress up.....WHAT!!!! That emotional blackmail, who is going to school wearing uniform when every one else is dressed up.

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    3. Those non uniform days come thick and fast at Christmas and Summer don't they. Thomas' old school used to ask for £1, his new school asks for specifics like cakes, sweets, chocolate and bottles.

      I don't remember taking anything to school when I was little. Mind you I don't remember Christmas or Summer Fairs either. Sports Day, Nativity and end of year show, but nothing else. xx

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  9. When my daughter went to school, if there was a day trip or something, the school had to provide staff to attend to the kids who didn't participate in the activity. Either a substitute teacher or, if there were only a few kids, the kids were sent to other classes for the day. Will Thomas' school have staff on hand to attend to any student who chose not to participate in the team building event?

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    1. Everybody will attend Bless because it's classed as educational and taking place during school hours so nobody can be left out. What will happen is the free children will go, the paying children will go and even those who don't qualify as free and don't pay will go as well.

      For their annual end of year trip which isn't classed as educational and therefore isn't funded there are several options - go on the main trip to a theme park, go bowling or something similar that isn't as expensive as the theme park, or stay in school for free and they do films, sports, art etc. xx

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