Despite the UK having a 'free' educational system, the cost of sending your kids to school is rocketing. With uniforms and sports kits, books and stationery, travel expenses, and food costs to take into account, sending your kids to school costs an average of £1,000 per year (secondary school) and £600 (primary school).
It's no wonder then that when schools send out a letter to ask for £300 to go on a school trip or school residential, it proves a bit of a pinch to some. But to others, with 3.5 million children in the UK living in poverty and many other financially disadvantaged families, it's a huge ask from to find that sort of money.
What Can Schools Legally Charge For?
When it comes to residential trips, schools are allowed to charge for school trip accommodation and food, however, they are not allowed to charge for activities that take place during normal school hours. They can, however, ask for a voluntary contribution. This is often suggested without a school contribution, given the school's own limited budgets.
We're aware of the pressures and difficulties that both children and parents from financially disadvantaged families suffer when parents cannot afford to send their children on school trips. But there is something that can help...
Funding School Trips With The Pupil Premium Fund
Every year, publicly funded schools receive a pupil premium fund for every child that is eligible for free school meals. For the 2015-2016 year, school will receive the following:
£1,320 per pupil in reception year to year 6
£935 for pupils in years 7-11
These funds are allocated specifically to further the education and support children who are financially disadvantaged. If your child is eligible for free school meals, then the school will have received a pupil premium fund for them.
If the school is asking you to voluntarily contribute money towards a school trip for your child, why not ask them why they are not using the pupil premium fund to cover these costs?