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 Deal
The 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, Money
Parents 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.
There 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.
I have twins due to go on a residential school trip costing £235 each. We have received a letter to state that those in receipt of free school meals only have to pay £20-how is that fair? For me to pay £470 for my children to go is 1/3 of my monthly income
Lisa - 12-Jan-24 @ 5:43 PM
My sons schoolare wanting 300 for a weekend trip I paid 75 and owe the rest I have phoned them many times to ask for help they have not got back to me I would hate him missing out it's the only trip he is going on I am single parenton uc
Tra - 6-Dec-23 @ 10:25 AM
My daughters nxt trip is £270 and they want the 1st £100 be4 Xmas....im on income support and get tax credits my daughter get free school meals...I always pay for all trips as I don't want her to miss out when her whole class goes..but this 1 I just can't afford is there anyway to get help? I feel that as this is a residential trip she will feel very left out and upset I really don't want her to suffer or feel bad because I don't have the money
Trace - 7-Nov-23 @ 12:53 PM
My daughter has 2 school trips for this year. Although technically one is for yr5 and other is yr 6! (June and October)
The price for both is £470… we are just over the threshold for fsm.
I can’t work due to health and get pip, my husband works part time after a brain tumour.
We are on Uc.
She’s being diagnosed with autism.
The trips would really benefit her. But I just can’t afford it, and the anxiety of her not being able to go is too much.
Nat - 3-May-23 @ 12:54 PM
Hello,my autistic daughter has been offered a place to go Japan with school only 10 going,she would really benefit fromthis educational and socially for her anxiety.
We have 1 month to find £750 for it,is there any help we can get
Cat - 25-Mar-23 @ 7:13 PM
Hello I have triplets and a single parent. My husband the children's dad died 18 months ago from bowel cancer. The triplets are due to go on a PGL in June. It's £275 per child. So £825 in total. I work part time 11.45 to 1.45 Mondays to Fridays in the school as a lunchtime helper. Then 2 to 7 on a Saturday at the local pub serving food in the restaurant (I work 15 hours a week) I also have health conditions,Pip turned me down too, so money is tight.
Does any one know any charities that will help?
Jonesy jones - 1-Mar-23 @ 10:51 PM
Hi, am a self employed mom who sells fruits. My sin has been selected for Academic Achievers Tour to UK and Ireland. They will be giing to numerous Universities including Oxford. The trip costs 2000 Pounds for 12 days any donation would be highly appreciated.
Babs - 26-Jan-23 @ 3:09 AM
I am really upset for my daughter as I can’t pay alll the trips she has to go.But I am single parent with some health issues.I will appreciate if I will get any help.Thanks
Vina - 12-Jan-23 @ 11:59 PM
I have been taking students on school trips for many years and it’s never been more difficult than it is now to raise the funds needed for young people and parents who are on low incomes. School trips are some of the most memorable, rewarding and educational experiences that a child can have and they should be available to all young people; not just those with good salaries. I am trying to think what to do about this and will keep you all posted
Alison - 15-Dec-22 @ 1:25 PM
If you are in receipt of certain benefits and or claim free school meals, the School are legally obligated to inform you that you do not have to pay board and lodgings for the trip.
Just search benefits and not paying board and lodgings and the .gov website will advise you.
Do NOT pay if you don’t have to or can’t afford to.
Jo - 11-Oct-22 @ 10:31 AM
Hi, I can't see any answers to your above questions. Same situation for me. My daughters primary school charge 550 for their residential in the UK. They've been good enough to take 200 off being that I am caring for their terminally ill dad and can't afford it. In honesty I can't even afford this as barely pay basic bills with Universal and PIP etc is still pending approval and its been over a year waiting.. any ideas? No body said it was easy eh?
Brainstorm - 30-Sep-22 @ 11:10 AM
Where do I find help with funding my daughters school trip next year. It’s £350 pounds but I get minimum tax credits and am a single working parents.
Kay - 15-Sep-22 @ 7:15 PM
My daughter has been offered a school trip 2050 to toyko japan for a art an cultured experience a once in a life time opportunity that i could never give her cani get help toward cost single working nurse on tax credits just wanting the best for her experinces in life
Nikki - 14-Sep-22 @ 9:08 PM
My daughter has been offered a school trip 2050 can i get help toward cost single working mum on tax credits
Nikki - 14-Sep-22 @ 9:04 PM
My daughter is at secondary school and has been offered a trip to Spain £990.
I am a working single parent. I claim UC. Would I be able to get any help towards the cost? Thank you
Liz - 21-Jul-22 @ 4:31 PM
Hi just wondering if you could help with my kids school trip
Sam - 6-Jul-22 @ 8:29 AM
Hi was wondering if there was any help with funding,my son has been offered a trip to Kenya for 10 days with the school,called the Zambia project costing £2600,I'm on low income work full time and my wife is full time carer for our disabled daughter,we do get free school meals
Charlie - 5-Jul-22 @ 7:04 AM
I have a year 12 child who's A'Level history class has decided on a 5 day trip to Washington DC for Easter 2023 with a proposed cost of £1600 (this may increase) with a £150 deposit due in 3 weeks. I am a single low income parent. My child works on a Saturday (has done since 16 saving for university) & has asked if she can go if she can pay £450 towards it.It baffles me given the current climate financially that a place for state education thinks parents can magically make money appear.
I too would like to know if there are any grants available.
Whisperscharm - 30-Jun-22 @ 8:51 PM
Hi my daghter as a school trip coming up to Kenya African adventure trip at a cost of 2100 wounding if there will be any founding as I am on UC
John - 23-Jun-22 @ 8:49 PM
My daughter has a ski trip in April costing over £2,220. I only got the letter yesterday and they want £200 deposit by Friday. I cant afford this trip and my daughter has done nothing but cry. I'm on disability and I don't have a partner. Please were can I get help to help fund this trip I feel devastated for my daughter.
Tammy - 25-May-22 @ 9:55 AM
Hi I'm a single parent and my daughters school has decided to go ahead with a residential trip for 2 days costing 219 and to be paid for the 25th of this month we only found out about this 10 days ago.Im on a low income andreally dont want her to miss out in this p7 trip to Dalguise. We are in Scotland is there any help out their for low income single parents for school trips
Sian - 5-Apr-22 @ 4:15 PM
If your child is on free school meals the school trust will cover more then half of it but you have to speak to the school trip organiser
Shaz - 1-Apr-22 @ 11:43 AM
My son has a residential trip coming up on the 24th to the 27th of April the dead line is tomorrow I can’t afford is there any think I can get to pay ty
Toni - 28-Mar-22 @ 12:29 PM
My daughter has a ski school trip which is 998.00 can I get help with the fee I'm on esa and disability and cannot afford this amount
Dolmio - 24-Mar-22 @ 4:45 PM
My daughter has a trip coming up for £200 but I cannot afford as I’m currently on UC, she has missed two trips became I could not afford and she begged me to go on this one but still I cannot afford it. Please kindly help with advice on grants
Vanessa - 21-Mar-22 @ 9:16 AM
My children have just come home with letters for a skiing trip just over 2000 for the both of them I'm on universal credit and I just can't afford it is there any help available
Shel - 19-Mar-22 @ 9:13 AM
Our son has been offered the chance of a school ski trip (£900) which we would love to be able to send him on but I'm a full time career for my disabled wife, we get UC and DLA and therefore free school meals.... But just wondered if there were any financial help towards such non educational trips through pupil premium or anything else?
Marcello1967 - 13-Oct-21 @ 7:39 AM
Hello! I'm from the UK and I've got a trip to New York in Feb but its £950 and I can't afford it, my parents have child tax credit and working tax credit, is there any help we can get please?
Tish - 6-Oct-21 @ 8:53 PM
My son Freddy Harbach (10) has been invited to a Norfolk trip ( £375 ) and we can’t afford it . I’m on pension credit , wife is registered blind. Any help with a grant please? regards John Harbach.
N/a - 14-Apr-21 @ 11:51 AM
My son is 11 and started high. Can I get any help towards school trips?
I'm a single parent and unemployed at present