Cost of School 'Residentials' Rant

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  • Cost of School 'Residentials' Rant
  • lambchop
    Member

    Had a letter home from my sons school today saying they are organising a 4 night residential at an outward bound place in Devon in September. It’s going to cost us £350 to send him. Thing is we’d love him to go for the experience, he’s only going to be 10 once etc, but £350! There are parents of kids in his year that £350 wont be a big deal but for us it’s a lot of money. They need 45 of the 60 kids in my boys year to go to make it viable, that’s over 15k for a bit of abseiling and baked potatoes n beans!

    Rant over for now. My daughter will be in year 6 the year after!!!!

    slugwash
    Member

    Seems like that’s where there’s some money to be made then. That’ll also explain why every other parent in our local schools’ federation in affluent South Devon appears to be employed as some kind of outdoor pursuits instructor.

    Now, where did I leave my British Canoe Union coaching certificates then?

    project
    Member

    If they want your kid to go, get them to pay, sadly this type of thing is prevelent now in schools, explain to your kid, you cant afford it, and dont see it as good value, for his education, and for money.

    root
    Member

    he’s only going to be 10 once

    If they want your kid to go, get them to pay

    Edit: Ahhh I see 😀

    hels
    Member

    Can he not just join the Scouts or the Boys Brigade and get all this for free ? Sure, he might get a bit more than just orienteering lessons, but at least it will save you some money.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    You could buy him a decent bike for that 🙂

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    You should really be given best part of a years notice for something like this IMO, for a lot of people 6 months is pushing the saving.

    Semi serious – take him out of school and organise your own event with a few like minded parents. Shouldn’t be difficult to out-adventure a one size fits all outfit. 🙂

    restless
    Member

    My kids primary school do this every year and the whole class goes so if one child didn’t they would be a complete oddball billy no mates.
    it is the peer pressure you see.

    The school do allow for payments to be made by instalments though.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    vinnyeh wrote:

    You should really be given best part of a years notice for something like this IMO, for a lot of people 6 months is pushing the saving.

    As some have already said, most schools have a timetable for these sorts of activities – e.g. always in year 6. Asking around may have drawn out that information.

    Premier Icon totalshell
    Subscriber

    cubs and scouts go free.. pish both mine off on a 350 pound shindig next feb.. whole year to pay though.. local school wants 43 kids for a ski trip for 5 days.. 760 each plus hire for all the gear..

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    We get ‘the cost of the trip is £x. This is a voluntary contribution, but we must emphasise that if we do not receive enough contributions, the trip may have to be cancelled’.

    😆

    Oh, and cubs etc- tried to sign my two up for brownies and cubs respectively- told that by time they hit the top of the waiting list they’d be too old.

    flip
    Member

    My son went to the same thing last year from his school for £120, he loved it

    project
    Member

    What happens if the parents are between jobs, eg unemployed, and if you have more than one kid.

    Edric 64
    Member

    I refused to let my son go on a two night trip that cost over two hundred quid .Apparently it was crap and they didnt do some of the activities on the agenda so I felt rather smug.

    grittyshaker
    Member

    I’m really uncomfortable with state schools charging large amounts of money for residentials with spurious educational value. Outdoor education can be a very valuable teaching tool but ski trips and the like seem sometimes like an indulgence on the part of teachers, having the effect of dividing the cool kids from the not-so-cool kids.

    restless
    Member

    What happens if the parents are between jobs, eg unemployed, and if you have more than one kid.

    For residentials they have to pay or don’t go.

    For day trips that are part of their curriculum, the school ask for the cost as a contribution, but if you don’t contribute, they don’t take you!

    sharkbait
    Member

    Same situation here except our school decided it was too expensive so cut the year six trip from 4 nights to two nights.
    I’m disappointed for the kids as they look forward to this last treat before leaving primary but I can see the schools point.
    We have twins and always paid double but last year we had a call from the head saying that they had changed school policy so that parents of multiples get a 50% discount – which was nice.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    My daughter went to Beijing a couple of years ago…..

     really uncomfortable with state schools charging large amounts of money for residentials with spurious educational value. Outdoor education can be a very valuable teaching tool but ski trips and the like seem sometimes like an indulgence on the part of teachers, having the effect of dividing the cool kids from the not-so-cool kids.

    i completely agree.

    tinribz
    Member

    Didn’t mind forking out for a trip to Paris that included galleries / Versailles and a Disney day but they were having a laugh for the ski trip at twice the price. Ours also seemed to get a lot out of outward bound places that didn’t cost the earth.

    We’d a scout camp come up for £300+ too the other day at some special UK site. That got cancelled after a few complaints so they’re going proper camping in Wales now for about £100.

    tymbian
    Member

    I have the same issues with my sons school-trip to Devon, there probaly going to the same place. The price of the trip is disgusting. My forum post click here

    What makes me even more pissed off is I found out on Monday that another local school just down the road from my sons school are going to Paris for the same price..£350 4 days with trips up the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre etc. etc. ….seems like a better educational journey & the better deal to me and value for money.

    Do I have a right to ask the school to justify the costing?

    If parents can’t afford it they seem to be offered the chance to pay less … obviously this is covered by those of us they think can ‘afford’ it

    Hence the ‘we need x number of kids whose parents are willing to pay’

    Really does bug me

    Schools cannot charge for activities that are required to deliver the curriculum. Sometimes a ‘voluntary contribution’ will be requested. Schools can charge for extra experiences that suppliment the core curriculum.

    I have organised many school trips and residentials, and I can assure you that schools are not profiteering. Since the 1993 Lyme Bay tragedy, the governance of all adventurous activities has been tightened to ensure that all activites are properly supervised by qualified staff – and rightly so. Unfortunately this costs.

    Not all costs need to be borne by the parents though. I have taken kids on ski trips who haven’t paid a penny. I have searched high and low for funding. I have applied for grants wherever I thought I might get them. I have even accepted funding from the Catholic Church, despite being a comitted atheist. My consolation is it allowed a girl whose Mum had nothing to take her first ever trip aboard. She’d never been out of Scotland, and took a panic attack going onto the Channel ferry… but she LOVED it and will remember the trip for the rest of her life – guaranteed.

    With imagination, forethought and planning, costs can be reduced, but £1000 funding split between 40 kids is only a reduction of £25 each, so it isn’t easy to make a big difference to everyone. I always tried to give a little help to everyone, and more help to those who really needed it.

    Over the years I have organised in excess of 6000 pupil day trips, and approaching 2000 pupil nights away. Some paid the full whack, some paid nothing, but I hope that no-one was ever prevented from going by the cost. I never dismissed an enquiry from a parent about financial assistance and would urge any parent with genuine worries about cost to swallow any pride and talk to the school. They may be able to help. I made sure I ALWAYS could by planning ahead.

    My annual turnover for Activities Week approached £20000. This is a lot of money in educational terms – in our case about £60 per pupil, and to put in into context the ‘educational spend’ in my department is 23p (yes £0.23) per pupil per year. No money was ever used to remunerate staff who gave all time above their contractural hours for free.

    And yes, you are fully entitled to ask for a breakdown of costs.

    RichPenny
    Member

    I went on similar things at the same age and it was fantastic. At that age going away with a large group of your peers is significant.

    Sell a bike?

    TBH, assuming £350 is for 5 days/4 nights with all transport, supervision at correct ratios for 24 hours a day, food, accomodation, equipment, etc, £70 a day isn’t that bad.

    Premier Icon Beagleboy
    Subscriber

    I had to watch all the ‘better off’ kids go on school trips when I was a young un’. Never bothered me that I was one of the few left behind, and I’ll stab anyone in the eye (Goon style), who says otherwise!

    B. 😉

    sailingneil
    Member

    Education shouldn’t just be about learning facts and figures, it should also.include opportunities to discover things about themselves and others, how they interact with others and how they and others feel in different situations. This is recognised in Scotland in the curriculum for excellence.

    Outdoor residential experiences can be a very valuable and memorable experience in a persons life, young or older. As above £70 per day isn’t bad when you take into account transport, food, accommodation and.activities.

    Premier Icon Coyote
    Subscriber

    I’m really uncomfortable with state schools charging large amounts of money for residentials with spurious educational value. Outdoor education can be a very valuable teaching tool but ski trips and the like seem sometimes like an indulgence on the part of teachers, having the effect of dividing the cool kids from the not-so-cool kids.

    Agreed. Some on here would do to remember that not everyone has cash to burn.

    If parents can’t afford it they seem to be offered the chance to pay less … obviously this is covered by those of us they think can ‘afford’ it

    Hence the ‘we need x number of kids whose parents are willing to pay’

    Really does bug me

    Count yourself lucky to be in the “can afford” group. Shortly after I was made redundant (thankfully working again now!) I found that the other camp is a less pleasant place to be.

    grittyshaker
    Member

    That’s commendable work TroutWrestler. I think that ensuring the inclusivity of trips should be the starting point. If cost alone prevents students from going that moves the trip into questinable territory, for me.

    tymbian
    Member

    I had mentioned to the school that paying £350 for a Devon trip comes at the wrong time and was there a bursary or something….? I was given the contact details of a religious group that might help. I read on their webpage that they can only help children who are in their Parish which my son is unfortunately not. When I mentioned this to the school/ trip organiser she just said oh I’m sorry! Ther was no indication that there were other measures in place or that the trip costs were voluntary.

    poly
    Member

    I feel people’s unease with this. We are fortunate that we can afford to pay, but every week the school seem to want money for something “extra”. Next week’s ‘outdoor activities’ are £80 (non residential). Later in the year we get hit for about £300 for a residential week (5 days / 4 nights). That is payable by instalments, but we got 3 weeks notice when the first £60 was due – not everyone has £60 kicking about at the drop of a hat.

    The rules on what is acceptable in Scotland are a little vague; the English rules are quite clear – nobody should be asked to pay for activities during the day but accommodation and food is OK. Voluntary contributions can be asked for but the child must not be stopped from attending if they don’t make them. I believe that where people qualify for free school meals subsidies will be available.

    I do believe outdoor education is an invaluable part of the learning experience for children. BUT in that case it should surely be funded by the state? I also believe that if you stop your child from attending for financial reasons they will be disadvantaged – so reinforcing the standard of learning for the “have’s”. If the benefits of outdoor training are as the residential centres claim (which I believe) surely its worth both the short and long term investment by schools/education authorities/government?

    Premier Icon edhornby
    Subscriber

    when I was 15ish we went in January to Calshot on a sports week – as I was (and still am) crap at football and anything with a tiny fast moving object that has to be hit with an implement, which is basically every sport that you do at school, I went despite a fair bit of pre-trip needle from the d’heads I was at school with

    first morning they took us to a climbing wall – then there was talk of canoeing but was too windy even though I was talking it up much to everyone’s displeasure
    then they got us all on the velodrome and I took great pleasure in making them all look silly

    I now have kids and I’ll moan about the prices but I’ll find a way somehow

    Tracker1972
    Member

    In our school financial assistance is available but it comes from schools budget. The price parents pay is the price the school is charged. The problem we have each year is that for some parents they would rather say no than take the handout. Entirely their choice of course, but it is their choice. Just in terms of confidence the benefits our year 6’s get I would say it is worth it. Which is probably why so many of or staff volunteer to help out overnight for free…

    RichPenny
    Member

    Why is it questionable territory? If a school has enough teachers willing to offer time and enough pupils who can go then what’s the big deal?

    timc
    Member

    i went to euro disney for two days & paris for one in 1994 for £150, my parent had a year to pay for it.

    wonder what pgl costs these days?

    duckman
    Member

    Oh look; another anti-school thread.
    I am taking 39 pupils (15-17YO) to Berlin/Krakow and the Menin gate. It costs £780 a kid,paid over 18 months with no payments Dec/Jan.
    Since some of the above are suggesting that we are running jollys “to separate cool from not cool kids.” My costs are 55% transport,35% accommodation and 10% entry.Included in this trip price is the money I have been given by the local Rotary/round table/PTA and community fund,which I use to fund a couple of kids who would not get the chance to go. I don’t set the prices,feel free to price up a 9 day supervised trip to the above,I would be delighted to send you our schedule.Another point, our staffing is very tight;the school will be getting 5 supply staff in at £160 a day for 7 school days to allow me to take staff with me.They meet that cost,not the kids.

    But is is such a jolly, 39 pupils in a foreign country, at least one trip to a dentist/doctors. At least one night sleeping in the corridor because the unsupervised Italian boys in the hotel are knocking on doors. Up each day at crack of dawn/last to bed.Not to mention the fact that I am apparently available 24/7 to parents who want to ask if I can move the seating on the bus around as their child has fallen out with their former BFF. And being away from my own family and the huge amount of planning/form filling/parental meetings. But hey-ho, what do I know? Imagine attempting to apply practical experience to provide balance in a STW thread. 🙂

    higthepig
    Member

    And being away from my own family and the huge amount of planning/form filling/parental meetings.

    Ahhh, dry your eyes Princess. You’ll be able to see your family during all the holidays you get off. 😉

    bullheart
    Member

    Ask the HT or bursar to take it out of the statutory AWPU funding the school receives for your child every academic year…

    That’ll raise an eyebrow.

    Duckman, whilst I dont agree with such expensive school trips at state schools I wouldnt swap with you. My idea of hell. A few days away with sixth formers is as much as I can cope with. Took 100 kids to the natural history museum for the day once. It nearly killed me.

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