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Should kids go on expensive school trips

Should kids go on expensive school trips
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Two schools have recently hit the headlines after planning week long trips to Barbados and Las Vegas. While there’s little doubt that kids would be climbing over each other to book their places, many will be disappointed as parents struggle to afford the £1,650 and £1,850 respectively, they’re expected to pay per child.

Trip

The sports trip to Barbados, which is not compulsory, would see pupils from Horsforth School in Leeds play football and netball against local teams as well as experiencing evening entertainment, a catamaran cruise and an optional visit to a water park. Pupils in years, eight, nine and 10 have been invited to sign up for the trip, which has been criticised by parents as being way more expensive than other similar trips to Italy and Spain. However, some parents have argued that no matter where the trip was headed, there would be some who could not afford to let their children to take part.

Another school has also angered parents after informing them of a ‘cultural’ trip for Year 11s to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, costing £1,850 per child. Not only are parents outraged at the cost which will leave many children disappointed as parents can’t afford it, but also the suitability of location being branded as ‘cultural’.

Debate

The situation has reignited a heated debate about school field trips and the associated costs. Many people feel expensive trips put pressure on parents – especially those with large families – to either find the money for them or tell their children they can’t go. Others argue that the fact some people have more money than others is a lesson that kids need to learn in life and that well-off pupils shouldn’t have to miss out because classmates can’t afford to go.

Survey

Should kids go on expensive school tripsA survey conducted for Guardian Money last year suggested that one in five parents had been asked to pay £1,000 or more towards the cost of a school trip. Of these parents, around 70% said it was an unacceptable amount for the school to request. However, most of the schools contacted as part of the survey claimed that they offered hardship funds and subsidised costs for pupils whose parents were unable to pay for trips related to the curriculum. And, in the majority of schools, pupils and parents were encouraged to do some fundraising to keep costs to a minimum.

Regulations

At the moment, the Department for Education does not apply a cap to the price of school trips. However, schools must only charge for the cost of the excursion and cannot make any profit through trips. The Department’s guidelines also state that schools should make parents in receipt of certain benefits, including Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers Allowance and some recipients of Child Tax Credit, aware of the help they are entitled to in order to cover the cost of educational school trips. Schools are also not allowed to charge for the cost of supply teachers to cover members of staff who are accompanying the trip.

Have your say

So, how do you feel about expensive school trips? Are they a great idea that offers kids opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise get? Or are they unfair on the families can’t afford to send their children?

Have you been asked to fork out hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds for a school excursion?

 

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About Maria Brett

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About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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