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School Trips and Gadgets – Opinions Please??

I am all for school trips and I think they are good for children, but there are times when I wonder if schools really have lost the plot.   They seem to think that pupils’ parents have a never ending pot of money to spend out.

I don’t mind the triple whammy of:

  1. cinema outings & shows
  2. museum and event trips
  3. sun cream
  4. uniform
  5. school shoes
  6. gym shoes
  7. gym kit
  8. book fairs (well I do, but that’s another story, more aimed at the people who organise and man the stalls)
  9. toy fairs (I might talk about that this week as well since it is relevant tomorrow)
  10. xmas present shelves
  11. xmas cards (sending a pack home your child has drawn and pretty much holding a gun to your head to buy them) 
  12. dinner lady white tickets you have to pay for, even if you gave your child a packed lunch that day.

 I can forgive almost all of those as ideas that might be appropriate, if they were dealt with slight modifications to how some of them are done at the moment.

My oldest was away with the school for 1 night in April.  It cost £85 and they had to be given £15 spending money.  

A couple of months later, they want another £300 for him to go for a 5 night residential sports outing.   On top of that, there will be spending money and lots of other clothes etc.

I can take my whole family away in the caravan for a fortnight for that price.  I have said no, that he is not going on the trip.    This now makes my son the odd one out, as it seems that out of a year of 70 odd primary children, he is the only one not going.  To top that off, he has also been given £5.00 to take home to start a car wash / baking initiative to help grow that fiver to take a little of the cost down for those who are going.  He has been included in it, even though he is not going.  He is asking the teacher if he is going to be allowed to keep anything above the £5 he earns since he is not going.

I am immensely proud of my boy for how he has taken not going away with his class.  My reasons are not purely monetary, as on the last trip away for the night, they put with two boys who are much more streetwise.   They proceeded to describe 18 horror films in-depth and I guess you can get the picture, along with the not doing anything your parents say as it’s “your life”.    He came home after one night away and it took us all about a month to recover and reset the boundaries.   I am not ready to go through that again. 

Then comes the news that the kids are all going to be issued IPad 2’s next year, which all parents will have to pay for on a monthly subscription.  Now understand, that all the kids have been told they are going to get these things, and nobody has asked the parents if they are willing to pay for it.   I have two children at that school, so that will be about £25 – 30 month they want me to pay (and have told my kids they will get).   My boys are coming home more and more excited at when it is all going to happen, and all I know is that I am going to be expected to find about £360 a year for something we hadn’t planned for.  

I have decided that the ipad2 are more important long-term, given the way the school plans using them than one week of activities.  I am budgeting for affording that, and our trips away which we need as a family with high needs children.

Logically I do know it is the right decision for us as a family, but why, oh why, do I feel so guilty for not letting him go on that trip?