Educational School Trips – FAQ’s

We are asked for a voluntary contribution so can’t I choose not to pay?

It is a government requirement to say that the money requested for educational visits is voluntary; this is designed to avoid any discrimination against children from families in financial hardship. All schools do also state, however, that visits will not go ahead unless sufficient funds are contributed. (At the point of us considering cancelling the Y3/4 Verulamium visit this week, only 60% of the cost of the trip had been contributed).

If my family is struggling financially, is there any help available or do I have to pay?

If your child has ever been entitled to free school meals in the last 6 school years as you have been in receipt of certain benefits, the school may have funding available to assist with your contribution. If you are not entitled to this assistance but are struggling financially, of course we are sympathetic to this and will do what we can to help. In either case, please come and talk to myself or the office staff in confidence and don’t just ignore the letters as we will assume you are refusing, rather than unable to pay!

Why should I pay if others don’t? Does my contribution fund someone else’s place?

There are very strict rules about this and we are not allowed to charge you any more than the actual cost for your child to go on a visit. None of the money you pay contributes to anyone else’s place.

Can’t you leave behind the children of parents who refuse to pay?

This is not allowed as it would discriminate against those children from families who genuinely can’t afford it.

Why should I pay when the school is probably making a profit?

There are very strict rules about this also. The total cost of the visit has to be divided equally between the number of children who attend and apart from rounding the figure to a more convenient amount, no extra money is allowed to be charged. The school always makes a loss on all visits as in every year group we accept that there are one or two children whose families are unable to make the contribution.

It doesn’t affect anyone if I don’t pay does it?

Yes it does! The school has to pay for all the places parents do not contribute to. Over the course a year, this has amounted to over a thousand pounds in the past. We are not given extra money in our budget to cover this and I’m sure you are aware of all the publicity regarding school budgets becoming lower and lower in real terms. Steeple Claydon is certainly no exception and the amount of money we have been allocated this financial year is significantly lower than the year before while all costs are increasing significantly at the same time! If we spend hundreds of pounds subsidising trips each year, that money is not available for other staff/resources or equipment which are all essential! That is why we are unable to continue running visits when insufficient contributions are made.

It’s ok for me to wait and pay after the deadline when I get a ‘chasing’ phone call isn’t it?

NO! I’m sure those of you who visit the office at any time of day appreciate how busy and hardworking Mrs Abu-Rish and Mrs Bowerman are. They do not have time to make what has been up to 30 phonecalls to all the families who have missed the deadline for permission or payment. We have done our best this year (and mostly succeeded) to give you plenty of notice by sending an initial letter in September about planned visits and probable costs and by sending the actual letter requesting payment several weeks in advance. Therefore, in future, following a general reminder to all parents, no individual reminders will be given before a decision is made regarding cancelling a trip.