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Is it just me? School payment demands

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  • 10-02-2012 2:36pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭


    I'd be very interested to hear other parents opinions on this. My son is in transition year and to date has been to Denmark, Kerry, taken golf lessons, driving lessons, been on numerous trips, all of which I have found the money for somehow. Today, without warning, I received an email stating that when the Danish students arrive on the return exchange, the school has arranged a trip to Kerry for two nights at a cost of 250 euro per student and the sum is to be paid in full within the next four weeks.

    Now I know some people have no problem paying this sum, however I am unable to and this is not my point. My question is: Do other parents feel pressured by their child's school to pay sums such as these at short notice? Does their school make requests like these?

    TY is an expensive year, but are the schools unaware of the current climate and unaware that TY can be less costly, whilst still providing students with new experiences?
    Am I the only parent who feels like this?:confused:


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,044 ✭✭✭gcgirl


    €250 is a bit too much for 2 nights fair enough if it was for 2 weeks, could they have stayed in a hostel ? Far cheaper


  • Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭meg3178


    gcgirl wrote: »
    €250 is a bit too much for 2 nights fair enough if it was for 2 weeks, could they have stayed in a hostel ? Far cheaper
    That would have been my thoughts too, especially as when they went to Denmark (Staying at a boarding school) they had to take their own sleeping bags and pay for all their excursions as well as flights, food when they were out etc. The school expects the parents to host the Danish students, feed them, take them on excursions etc, which would have been fine, but now this has been added suddenly, I thought it was a cheek on the school's part.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,205 ✭✭✭cruizer101


    Are they staying in a 4 star hotel or something, I'd be looking for a breakdown when its that much for 2 nights.

    When I did transition year we never did anything that fancy and still had a great experience. Any trips in school that were that expensive were optional and in my case it was up to me to pay if I wanted to go.

    What happened to the days of student exchanges being kipping on the bedroom floor.

    It does sound like they are doing a lot of what sound like expensive trips, maybe you need to talk with some other parents and bring it up with the TY coordinator.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,592 ✭✭✭✭The Princess Bride


    My oldest girl did TY last year- spent approximately €750 for the year on trips and courses.( I kept a record out of curiosity)
    To be honest- none of these were forced upon any of the children.
    This was made perfectly clear to us at the TY parents meeting before the year began everything was optional.

    For a London trip-the students themselves had to do the research for the costing etc...this in itself was a good learning experience- and the plans were changed a few times until the most cost effective option was available.

    I would not feel under any pressure to send your child OP- (especially at short notice) tbh ,there's a lot of things we'd like to do ourselves but due to financial constraints-cannot.
    Children need to know that sometimes-"in real life"- we have no choice but to say no.

    I think the individual courses(1st aid, referree,etc..) available during TY are cheaper and of greater benefit long term to the students than the trips.


  • Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭meg3178


    msthe80s wrote: »
    My oldest girl did TY last year- spent approximately €750 for the year on trips and courses.( I kept a record out of curiosity)
    To be honest- none of these were forced upon any of the children.
    This was made perfectly clear to us at the TY parents meeting before the year began everything was optional.

    For a London trip-the students themselves had to do the research for the costing etc...this in itself was a good learning experience- and the plans were changed a few times until the most cost effective option was available.

    I would not feel under any pressure to send your child OP- (especially at short notice) tbh ,there's a lot of things we'd like to do ourselves but due to financial constraints-cannot.
    Children need to know that sometimes-"in real life"- we have no choice but to say no.

    I think the individual courses(1st aid, referree,etc..) available during TY are cheaper and of greater benefit long term to the students than the trips.

    I agree with you msthe80s, the courses and trips are very beneficial to the kids, which is why I made sure the funds were in place for them.

    I tried to call the school today, as I have since found out, have many other parents, to no avail and the matter will have to wait until the 20th. I am relieved to know I am not alone in my thinking, especially as this trip had never been planned, nor was it in the original TY agenda, yet the school has done this without any consultation with the parents. My Son's friends were shocked when they were given a hard copy of the letter to take home, as it was never discussed with them either.

    Thanks everyone for your responses, I really appreciate your opinions with this.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,937 ✭✭✭implausible


    meg3178 wrote: »
    I tried to call the school today, as I have since found out, have many other parents, to no avail and the matter will have to wait until the 20th. I am relieved to know I am not alone in my thinking, especially as this trip had never been planned, nor was it in the original TY agenda, yet the school has done this without any consultation with the parents.

    There's a good chance the principal will still be around the building next week, so no harm to try ringing during midterm.

    If other parents feel the same, ye should get organised, get a meeting with the TY co-ordinator and principal and threaten to take it to the Board of Management. Costs are no laughing matter these days and it is simply not on to demand this sort of money at short notice, especially when you were given a TY agenda, which presumably was to allow parents to plan for these costs. Everyone knows TY can be costly, but that is not an excuse to spring this on people. Even if your child were in an exclusive wealthy school, it smacks of bad planning and perhaps a fuss about this may inspire management to think before doing this again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,584 ✭✭✭deisemum


    I would want a breakdown of what exactly is covered for the €250 for 2 nights. It seems excessive considering a family can stay in a lot of hotels for a weekend break including dinner on 1 night for a lot less than €250 in total let alone 1 student who should be benefitting from group booking discounts.

    Parents need to make their feelings known to the school and refuse to send their children on these expensive trips.

    I've got a son in TY and it's €450 per pupil for the year to include everything with the exception of the optional foreign trip. We had to pay €250 in the spring before TY and then €200 in September so parents knew exactly what the year would cost. Parents can pay it off monthly to help them budget.


  • Registered Users Posts: 232 ✭✭tinyk68


    My daughter is in TY and in her school you pay €300 for the year and this covers all trips except for the one they have to do if they are doing Gaisce which my daughter is. However my son is in first year in a different school and we've already had to refuse to give him permission to go on a trip to England for a soccer match. My husband lost his job in October and we just can't afford it. I think a lot of schools are out of touch with the reality of the rescession as the teachers in question still have jobs. It is very embarrassing to have to say no due to lack of money both for the parents and for the child and I think this is something which needs to be addressed. A lot of us are under severe financial pressure and this only adds to it. We all want to provide the best for our children and make school a rounded experience but actually from what I've seen of TY so far it's not the trips that are the most benificial part. It's the other challenges they take on such as work experience, charity work, community involvement etc. In my opinion these are much more helpful to them than trips away and should be the most important part of TY.


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 12,490 Mod ✭✭✭✭byhookorbycrook


    €250 for two nights?We just booked a weekend 2 bb and 1 d in a four star in Kilarney for €109 pps!!


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,953 Mod ✭✭✭✭Moonbeam


    Remember when we were in school and our parents ould have to say no to outings and trips?
    We understood most of the time and got on with i,it didn't do us any harm but it did teach us to appreciate money and to save up any money that we were given.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,049 ✭✭✭CookieMonster.x


    That is an outrageous amount! I did TY last year and it was quite expensive. We ha to pay €70 deposit and then €250 at the beginning of the year. The trip abroad was €500 (Which was a rip off). The €250 included ecdl and some things but we had to pay other things like plays, a trip to an adventure centre etc.
    I agree with the others - ring and ask what exactly this money includes. When we had exchange people over anyone who hosted got to go for free to the various places. Don't be afraid say no to the trip. Loads of people are in the same boat and won't be going.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 937 ✭✭✭Pandora2


    Just a thought folks but not that long ago I received such an excessive financial request for a school trip (couple of years ago), did a bit of digging and eventually the school admitted the trip was costed to include the expenses of the teachers supervising, not saying that this is the case here but, it does happen.

    Also, I'm with Moonbeam......1980, paid the deposit for the school trip to France, went home to find out my Dad had literally been locked out of his job that day....unexpected redundancy:eek: Asked for the deposit back the following day.....and got it. I still have one in 2nd level and she is fast becoming accustomed to the word No in relation to unnecessary expenses and on the whole takes it in good part and accepts that this is how things are now....might as well get our kids used to it..........."make do and mend" is our future:(


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,049 ✭✭✭CookieMonster.x


    Jut to add that you're probably paying for the teachers in that €250. We had to pay for the teachers for our trip abroad.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,584 ✭✭✭deisemum


    Jut to add that you're probably paying for the teachers in that €250. We had to pay for the teachers for our trip abroad.

    It's standard to pay for the teachers.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 937 ✭✭✭Pandora2


    deisemum wrote: »
    It's standard to pay for the teachers.

    But should it be??? TY is part of the Curriculum and the teachers are "at work" for which they are already paid. I understand that there are expenses incurred for their accommodation etc which are not theirs personally but should it be the parents of children in varying financial circumstances who pick up the tab? This can only result in children from poorer backgrounds being forced to abstain from such activities......surely they would be the kids most in need of this social education??

    Also, if it is established practice why not be straight about it.......on the occasion I referred to, the kids stayed in a hostel, whilst 2 out of the 3 supervising teachers retired to a 3* leaving one on duty at night in the hostel....Took them a while to admit that little detail though!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout


    Pandora2 wrote: »
    But should it be??? TY is part of the Curriculum and the teachers are "at work" for which they are already paid. I understand that there are expenses incurred for their accommodation etc which are not theirs personally but should it be the parents of children in varying financial circumstances who pick up the tab? This can only result in children from poorer backgrounds being forced to abstain from such activities......surely they would be the kids most in need of this social education??

    Also, if it is established practice why not be straight about it.......on the occasion I referred to, the kids stayed in a hostel, whilst 2 out of the 3 supervising teachers retired to a 3* leaving one on duty at night in the hostel....Took them a while to admit that little detail though!!

    Teachers aren't getting the expense money into their hand. Any expense paid on behalf of the teacher covers accommodation and sometimes meals, the same as what the students are getting. Often it's just the accommodation. They don't get anything extra on top of it.Also the scenario where the teachers stay in a different location to the students is not the norm. I've organised many school tours and when it's run through a tour company, a teacher place is thrown each for each 8-10 students on the trip. That's usually how it works. More often than not I've ended up out of pocket on tours, paying kennel fees for my dogs to be looked after while I'm away, eating out a few times a day for a couple of days, when normally I'd be eating at home, the €50 one student owed you and didn't bring on the day the tour departed which you end up paying out of your own pocket etc etc.

    The cost of the OPs trip for her son does sound excessive. Why haven't the students been put in a hostel for two nights? Should cost no more than €20 per night, transport shouldn't cost that much either. Are the TY students funding part of the Danish students costs as well I wonder?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 937 ✭✭✭Pandora2


    Teachers aren't getting the expense money into their hand. Any expense paid on behalf of the teacher covers accommodation and sometimes meals, the same as what the students are getting. Often it's just the accommodation. They don't get anything extra on top of it.Also the scenario where the teachers stay in a different location to the students is not the norm. I've organised many school tours and when it's run through a tour company, a teacher place is thrown each for each 8-10 students on the trip. That's usually how it works. More often than not I've ended up out of pocket on tours, paying kennel fees for my dogs to be looked after while I'm away, eating out a few times a day for a couple of days, when normally I'd be eating at home, the €50 one student owed you and didn't bring on the day the tour departed which you end up paying out of your own pocket etc etc.

    The cost of the OPs trip for her son does sound excessive. Why haven't the students been put in a hostel for two nights? Should cost no more than €20 per night, transport shouldn't cost that much either. Are the TY students funding part of the Danish students costs as well I wonder?

    Don't get me wrong Rainbow Trout...(I love your username ;-)......There is no amount of money could make me go away with 20/30 teenagers.....even supposing I was being transported to a 5 Star at Midnight but, it raises a dilemma.......do poor kids not go because either teachers or exchange students must be accommodated thus pushing up the cost....Are school trips going to be part of a class divide in this economic climate...I still remember the total embarassment of having to ask for the deposit back not 24 hours after I had gleefully paid it (although I never made a fuss about it at home), I remember them all preparing for their trip, heading off, the boredom of mid-term when all my friends were away and the bonds of friendship they forged from which I was excluded purely by my absence.....it even kept going after their return as the photo's took anything up to a month to appear and do the rounds...I will say it did not scar me but it certainly brought home to me that my life was very different from many of theirs....Is it time to be more austere about the extra curricular activities offered within the TY Programmes???


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout


    Pandora2 wrote: »
    Don't get me wrong Rainbow Trout...(I love your username ;-)......There is no amount of money could make me go away with 20/30 teenagers.....even supposing I was being transported to a 5 Star at Midnight but, it raises a dilemma.......do poor kids not go because either teachers or exchange students must be accommodated thus pushing up the cost....Are school trips going to be part of a class divide in this economic climate...I still remember the total embarassment of having to ask for the deposit back not 24 hours after I had gleefully paid it (although I never made a fuss about it at home), I remember them all preparing for their trip, heading off, the boredom of mid-term when all my friends were away and the bonds of friendship they forged from which I was excluded purely by my absence.....it even kept going after their return as the photo's took anything up to a month to appear and do the rounds...I will say it did not scar me but it certainly brought home to me that my life was very different from many of theirs....Is it time to be more austere about the extra curricular activities offered within the TY Programmes???


    I understand where you're coming from. I had a friend teaching in a fee paying school who had forgotten I think what the real world was like and used to boast :rolleyes: about going on school tours to Asia and Africa (of course his place was paid for, it wasn't costing him anything) while I was organising 3 days in Paris or London on a tight budget.

    However, to address your point, while it might seem unfair that some students can't afford school tours (home or abroad) because they don't have the money, should all school tours be stopped so they won't feel left out? We could say that about so many other things that happen in school and out of school. Most of the tours I ran took place between 2003- 2008, the Celtic Tiger years if you will, and there were still students that could afford it and those that could not.

    I order the Farmers Journal for my class every year (Leaving Cert Agriculture). It's €25 for a weekly subscription for the school year, pretty good value overall. There's a leaving cert supplement in it and they can use the other articles for their projects etc. I always have a few that can't afford it, some I know genuinely can't afford it, some don't have a lot of money but have no trouble paying for cigarettes and alcohol and tell me they can't afford it. I don't think I should stop ordering it for the ones who want it and will benefit from it's use though, because not every can afford it.

    In this example of the trip at short notice for the TY group, I think it's poor form, especially if it wasn't on their original itinerary for the year and appears from the wording like it is compulsory, but I don't think other activities should cease because some people can't afford them. No matter how cost effective an activity is there will always be someone who can't afford it, that happens outside school as well as inside and is just a reflection of how the world works.


  • Registered Users, Moderators, Education Moderators, Sports Moderators, Regional South Moderators Posts: 15,247 Mod ✭✭✭✭rebel girl 15


    €250 sounds very very excessive for 2 nights away. I'd say it to a few other parents and maybe bring it up with the TY co-ordinator - you could nearly pay that much for a group of 20 to stay in a hostel, and there are some great hostels down in Killarney. I'd also look for a breakdown of the €250 - especially as it seems to have been added at the last minute!


  • Registered Users Posts: 484 ✭✭guppy


    Pandora2 wrote: »
    Just a thought folks but not that long ago I received such an excessive financial request for a school trip (couple of years ago), did a bit of digging and eventually the school admitted the trip was costed to include the expenses of the teachers supervising, not saying that this is the case here but, it does happen.

    Also, I'm with Moonbeam......1980, paid the deposit for the school trip to France, went home to find out my Dad had literally been locked out of his job that day....unexpected redundancy:eek: Asked for the deposit back the following day.....and got it. I still have one in 2nd level and she is fast becoming accustomed to the word No in relation to unnecessary expenses and on the whole takes it in good part and accepts that this is how things are now....might as well get our kids used to it..........."make do and mend" is our future:(

    I also agree. I never went on a school trip as my parents couldn't afford it, I wasn't that bothered, it was just part of life. My husbands parents put a lot of stock in good education and sent him, and his siblings, to a private school* in the 80's and 90's (for which they scrimped and saved).They were surrounded by much wealthier kids and none of them ever went on the trips, again, no harm done, no resentment there.

    My daughter went on one trip abroad. She was told that she would only get one school trip in secondary, so she chose the one she was really excited about, had a great time, and never asked again, never whined about it either.

    *not saying you need a private education to have a good education, but that is how they felt, and still feel - they get on at us to send our son to the same private school, but I've been ignoring the comments so far!


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 937 ✭✭✭Pandora2


    I understand where you're coming from. I had a friend teaching in a fee paying school who had forgotten I think what the real world was like and used to boast :rolleyes: about going on school tours to Asia and Africa (of course his place was paid for, it wasn't costing him anything) while I was organising 3 days in Paris or London on a tight budget.

    However, to address your point, while it might seem unfair that some students can't afford school tours (home or abroad) because they don't have the money, should all school tours be stopped so they won't feel left out? We could say that about so many other things that happen in school and out of school. Most of the tours I ran took place between 2003- 2008, the Celtic Tiger years if you will, and there were still students that could afford it and those that could not.

    I order the Farmers Journal for my class every year (Leaving Cert Agriculture). It's €25 for a weekly subscription for the school year, pretty good value overall. There's a leaving cert supplement in it and they can use the other articles for their projects etc. I always have a few that can't afford it, some I know genuinely can't afford it, some don't have a lot of money but have no trouble paying for cigarettes and alcohol and tell me they can't afford it. I don't think I should stop ordering it for the ones who want it and will benefit from it's use though, because not every can afford it.

    In this example of the trip at short notice for the TY group, I think it's poor form, especially if it wasn't on their original itinerary for the year and appears from the wording like it is compulsory, but I don't think other activities should cease because some people can't afford them. No matter how cost effective an activity is there will always be someone who can't afford it, that happens outside school as well as inside and is just a reflection of how the world works.


    I cannot disagree with one word of your argument and am glad you understand I was not in any way being critical of those teachers who give of their time to offer these opportunities to our kids, my girls have both benefitted and continue to do so when its affordable:confused: And as I say, 'not going' didn't scar me....but it does widen a class divide during times of recession and it's bloody hard being a teenager these days imo, so much to go wrong!! Bankers have visited this upon all our kids sadly :(


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 12,395 ✭✭✭✭mikemac1


    €250 is crazy money, are they getting twin rooms in a hotel?

    What's wrong with a hostel, six or eight of them per room


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 937 ✭✭✭Pandora2


    guppy wrote: »
    I also agree. I never went on a school trip as my parents couldn't afford it, I wasn't that bothered, it was just part of life. My husbands parents put a lot of stock in good education and sent him, and his siblings, to a private school* in the 80's and 90's (for which they scrimped and saved).They were surrounded by much wealthier kids and none of them ever went on the trips, again, no harm done, no resentment there.

    My daughter went on one trip abroad. She was told that she would only get one school trip in secondary, so she chose the one she was really excited about, had a great time, and never asked again, never whined about it either.

    *not saying you need a private education to have a good education, but that is how they felt, and still feel - they get on at us to send our son to the same private school, but I've been ignoring the comments so far!

    Agreed, but I just hate the thought of "inequality of opportunity", we will see all lot more of it before we emerge from this financial abyss!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭meg3178


    Pandora2 wrote: »
    But should it be??? TY is part of the Curriculum and the teachers are "at work" for which they are already paid. I understand that there are expenses incurred for their accommodation etc which are not theirs personally but should it be the parents of children in varying financial circumstances who pick up the tab? This can only result in children from poorer backgrounds being forced to abstain from such activities......surely they would be the kids most in need of this social education??

    Also, if it is established practice why not be straight about it.......on the occasion I referred to, the kids stayed in a hostel, whilst 2 out of the 3 supervising teachers retired to a 3* leaving one on duty at night in the hostel....Took them a while to admit that little detail though!!

    Just to add to this, the teachers also receive overnight travel and subsistance payments which are non taxable. I have no problem with the teachers, their job can be hard enough, I just think the schools are out of touch with today's Ireland. The itinery is for the students to walk along the beach and go to Brandon Pier and travel over the Connor Pass. They are staying in a B&B and their entertainment is a sing song in the B&B in the evening. Surely the visiting students would have had more fun at one of the outward bound centres and sleeping in dorms. I have asked these questions and was told it was too late to book the adventure centres...the school knew they were coming since last year!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,937 ✭✭✭implausible


    meg3178 wrote: »
    Just to add to this, the teachers also receive overnight travel and subsistance payments which are non taxable.

    ??? I'm confused here, who is paying the travel and subsistence?


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout


    meg3178 wrote: »
    Just to add to this, the teachers also receive overnight travel and subsistance payments which are non taxable.


    Two things. You're living in cloud cuckoo land if you think teachers get travel and subsistence expenses for going on school tours. They don't and never have. There have been times I've been broke and the principal has approached me and asked me to go on a tour and it meant putting my dogs into boarding kennels for a couple of nights at my own expense. Dinners might have been provided at our accommodation but we would have to get our own lunches. Granted lunch doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg but when you're broke having to eat out is an unnecessary expense.

    While accommodation and travel for teachers are normally provided on the tour, tours normally end up costing me money I wouldn't have been spending if I was at home.

    The second thing. Not that teachers get these expenses for tours but travel and subsistence are untaxed in any job. They are not income they are expense claims so your post just sounds like a dig at a teacher for being a public sector worker rather than a complaint about the expense of a school tour.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,943 ✭✭✭abouttobebanned


    Why is there a need for so many trips? In this current economic climate they should be knocking all these things on the head and going back to the educational basics. Teaching!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,285 ✭✭✭tfitzgerald


    My daughter is doing TY next year and we were told that the cost would be between 700-800€ and that trips were not compulsory . I would tell the school enough is enough that you just can't afford it . Fcuk em .
    P. s. I never new that the students had to subsidise the teachers on these trips now I know why 5 or 6 of them went to Paris :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,780 ✭✭✭alie


    My son did,nt want to do ty but was hounded into it by one particular teacher, he felt under immense pressure and is doing it at the moment , not only is it expensive ( a year I had not budgeted for) , its also free labour for the school as they seem to do a lot of repairs and general clean ups.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,937 ✭✭✭implausible


    P. s. I never new that the students had to subsidise the teachers on these trips now I know why 5 or 6 of them went to Paris :(

    More digs at teachers...

    Is there anyone here who as part of their job and often during their holidays would volunteer to go on a week-long trip with a large group of overexcited teenagers? Do parents not realise what their darlings are capable of trying when away from their parents with a group of their peers? Underage drinking, smoking, bed-hopping (for want of a nicer way of putting it), homesickness, money issues, getting lost, injuries and sickness are just some of the issues teachers have to watch out for. Teachers do not get paid extra to go on these trips, but surely they should not be out of pocket for planning and supervising a trip and being 'on-duty' 24/7.

    The alternative would be no trips at all or hiring a private security firm!

    There should be a maximum of 10 students per teacher on any trip, less if it's overnight and abroad. How many students went to Paris?


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