Getting Help with Funding for School Trips
Putting your child through school is a necessity, and despite the UK claiming it has a ‘free’ education system in place, many parents find that the cost of education is soaring.Taking into account the cost of uniforms, books, travel expenses, food costs and the added contributions parents are asked to pay towards school trips, the cost of your child’s school education can run into the thousands.
A report from Citizens Advice revealed that 50 per cent of parents pay more than £10 per school day trip that their child attends, and for those who go on residential trips, this cost can reach as much as £200.
One issue pointed out by parents when it comes to financing school trips is that they are not given enough notice to budget and save in order to cover the costs.The report also showed that those families on low incomes didn’t know that they could actually be exempt from paying some, or all, of the cost of these trips.
The Real DealThe rules surrounding the charges schools can apply for educational trips are hazy.Basically, schools are able to charge parents a fee for board and lodging for school residential trips, but they can’t charge for activities that take place during school hours – although they can ask for voluntary contributions.
This often makes those parents on low incomes feel obliged to make a contribution that they realistically can’t afford with many schools implying that the trip could be cancelled if there aren’t substantial contributions.The reality of the situation is that those parents who are entitled to free school meals are exempt from these charges.
However, leading charities often point out that children from low income families are often isolated or bullied at school as a result of their parents not being able to afford new uniforms or to pay for school trips.
For parents on low incomes, the main cause of concern is that their child could suffer academically as a result of not being able to attend the trips that are linked to the curriculum. It is often the case that schools exclude those children who can’t pay from the trip, despite the rules clearly stating that contributions should be voluntary.
Money, Money, MoneyParents whose children attend secondary schools face an average annual amount of £1,000 just to cover the ‘added extras’ of their child’s education. And primary schools aren’t much better, costing parents as much as £600 per year.
According to figures from national charity, One Parent Families|Gingerbread, lone parent families are five times more likely to have an income of less than £200 per week making it very difficult for them to budget to cover the cost of school trips.This means that families are forced to borrow extra money to cover these extra costs, adding to their already difficult financial circumstances.
Helping HandThere is little help available to help cover the cost of school trips. However, some local authorities can help towards the cost of school uniforms. Some do offer grants for extra expenses, but these are usually reserved for those with ‘exceptional circumstances’.
One form of funding that has been successful in helping parents on low incomes with the costs associated with their child’s education in Horizon.This project is supported by Barclaycard and charities including One Parent Families|Gingerbread, Parent Line Plus, Citizens Advice and The Family Welfare Association. It is through the latter that parents are able to access grants to help support parents with costs associated with education.