Gransnet forums


school costs

(16 Posts)
janreb Tue 19-Jul-11 11:02:07

Does anyone else feel parents are being ripped off by schools? My daughter is a single Mum - Dad cleared off with his latest fancy piece mid way through her last preganacy- and she really struggles with money. We help when we can but don't have any excess income. She phoned this morning to ask if we could buy her 4 year old a school sweat shirt for Sept. which will cost £9.50 and is a "must have" part of the uniform. Also this little one leaves her nursery school on Friday and for the leaver's party all gilrs must be in princess fancy dress - probably another £10 as I don't have time to make anything now. When ours were at school (in the old days!!) I could knit a jumper in school colours, or make a sweat shirt but that isn't acceptable now. Surely schools should realise not all parents have plenty of money. She could keep her away from the party, or just send her in something else but of course gd wants to be the same as her friends. The school used to have a second hand box of uniform that had been outgrown but that doesn't happen now.

JessM Tue 19-Jul-11 11:47:32

Terribly insensitive schools! I am a governor in a poor area and of course we are sensitive. Uniform is very basic and can be bought from Tesco etc.
I favoured an even cheaper uniform but the students (secondary) have just asked for and got a bit of an upgrade. Still v cheap though. For things like D of E we pay for the equipment.
Whoever is running these schools is not stopping to think about this issue.

GillieB Tue 19-Jul-11 12:52:21

I think it is all a case of image (the schools) and the some heads just don't realise how limited people's incomes are. These days everything seems to have to have the school name or logo embroidered on it, whereas years ago it was just buy a blue, red, etc., jumper. And I certainly think expecting the parents at the drop of a hat to come up with a princess outfit is way over the top. There is a thread about this on Mumsnet at the moment - it seems to get much worse the older the child gets - and when they start on sport ....

Baggy Tue 19-Jul-11 13:29:00

I remember reading somewhere that state schools cannot make uniform compulsory. Most parents like school uniform and it seems to have come back into fashion in the Thatcher years after a period of ease. If it is a struggle to buy the sweatshirt, tell the school and send your child in something near the school colour if you can until you can afford it.

Similarly with the princess outfit — speak about it with the nursery staff. You won't be the only one who is finding it a struggle but until people speak out someone who is not altogether sensitive may not have thought through the issues properly.

In my view, expecting parents to fork out more and more for school extras is a form of bullying.

Elegran Tue 19-Jul-11 13:37:42

If the nursery school thought a princess party would be fun, they could have spent some happy hours in advance making crowns and wands and fairy wings in class, then told everyone to wear them to the party. What are the boys to wear, full evening dress with medals?

JessM Tue 19-Jul-11 13:55:59

Good point elegran.
doublet and hose?

janreb Tue 19-Jul-11 14:24:30

Strangely all this years "leavers" at nursery are little girls - so no boys being dressed in pink tulle and sequins!

Baggy Tue 19-Jul-11 14:27:38

Elegran's idea about making the dressing-up 'props' is an excellent one. Then there is no pressure on anyone to wear anything different from their usual clothes and nobody feels left out or that their 'costume' isn't as good as someone else's.

crimson Tue 19-Jul-11 14:34:31

I'm not very good at sewing, but I used to love making costumes for the children for school productions, carnival floats etc. Used to find great stuff from charity shops and then improvise. Now you can buy costumes from supermarkets and toy shops but it doesn't seem the same to me. I suppose if someone did turn up in a home made costume they'd be ridiculed these days. Find it rather sad. As for the uniforms, they grow out of them so quickly as well. Not so bad if there's another child to pass them on to.

harrigran Tue 19-Jul-11 14:35:28

It looks to me as if the teachers are just assuming that every little girl has a dressing up box from which to chose relevant costume. Last Christmas I had to find an angel outfit for DGD with just a few days notice, too short a time to even buy from internet. When GD left nursery on her last day we were given sweat shirts and a note and please tell Mummy that will be and the price. We paid the money there and then because Mummy was in hospital having a baby. Bit of an imposition.

absentgrana Tue 19-Jul-11 14:56:23

Side-tracking even more from the question, as we do, my daughter was cast as a snowflake in the school Christmas play and about ten days before the perfomrance she told me that she needed a costume. I walked the length of Oxford Street in London several times in search of a plain white top and skirt to stitch with some sequins. Eventually, I bought a tutu pattern, some white satin and some white net and telephoned a friend to ask to borrow her sewing machine. The bodice and fitted knicker part of the garment went smoothly but the skirt consisted of several layers of net, gathered and folded over (not how tutus are made professionally). If I stitched and gathered once, I must have done it a dozen times and every time I pulled up the gathers, the thread broke. On the Saturday before the performance, I explained that some mummies are good at some things and some mummies are not and promised to have one more go. Husband peeling potatoes in the kitchen, small girl sitting on the floor next to me – we all held our breath. Painstakingly, I pulled up the gathers in what was slowly turning into a dishrag and finally wound the thread around a pin. A small voice at my knee said, "Would you like a glass of sherry, Mummy?" What has become known as the snowfrock flake is now a legend in our family.

absentgrana Tue 19-Jul-11 14:58:33

Sorry janreb for hurtling off at a tangent. Perhaps someone – mummy or granny – could offer to run a second-hand uniform stall at the summer fair or some other occasion. The proceeds could be split between the seller and the school on an agreed basis. Just a thought.

janreb Tue 19-Jul-11 16:44:25

That's an idea absentgrana, I will suggest it to the PTA next term.
I do agree with school uniform but feel it would be more realistic for some mums if they could buy the uniform from any retailer and then just buy a school badge to sew on. Of course if daddy would help it would make a difference - but don't start me off on that one!

Annobel Tue 19-Jul-11 17:24:40

Oh absentgrana - a gran after my own heart! I come out in a cold sweat at the sight of a needle and thread. My worst experience with school entertainments was when DS2 came home and casually announced that he needed a Henry VIII costume in two days' time. I cobbled together an outfit from stuff I found around the house and padded him out somehow or other and he looked quite good! I doubt if I would have done much better given more notice, being quite useless with my hands.

raggygranny Tue 19-Jul-11 19:30:34

absentgrana you remind me of having to make a tutu for a ballet show (don't get me started on ballet lessons!). Blood, sweat and tears wasn't in it. But it must have been well made because it has served several granddaughters as a dressing-up costume and is still around (rather grubby now!).
On the subject of the OP, the sudden demands for 'extras' put a great strain on parents, especially single parents like one of my daughters. And children hate to be 'odd one out' - and will be teased cruelly - so there is a lot of pressure to pay up.

Littlelegs Tue 19-Jul-11 20:18:14

I still have a step-daughter at school. Every week it is £5 or £10 for this or that.

I know my eldest daughter has the same trouble, as my grandson is always being asked to make things, or provide a costume for a school event. It is not easy when you have a limited income as she does, although she works. I believe the schools think we all have money trees gowing in our garden.

I have however, made things myself for my own children and others at ballet class etc. It is time available nowadays. sad