Survey Finds Parents Being Asked to Make Contributions towards Textbooks

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23rd April 2014 11:53 - Education

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) survey of 500 staff members in English, Welsh and Northern Irish schools has discovered that a quarter (26%) said parents were asked for voluntary contributions towards text or revision books.

Findings suggest that in thirty per cent of cases, if parents cannot pay, the school makes up the difference; two fifths (43%) of staff fear such requests can put some pupils at a disadvantage.

The survey also suggests that the majority (90%) of schools ask parents to contribute to the cost of school trips and activities related to the curriculum. However, when parents are unable to pay four fifths (82%) of schools say they will make up the difference.

Respondents also say parents and carers are often expected to make voluntary contributions in a range of other forms, rather than money.

Some 87 per cent say contributions are sought for fancy dress and charity days, 78 per cent mention cake or baking sales, 66 per cent say their school asked for donations towards tombolas or raffles, and half (48%) say they asked for food for pupils’ parties.

Dr Philip Dixon, director of ATL Cymru, said:

"The stark reality is that the budget squeeze means schools and colleges are increasingly forced to ask parents to help pay for resources and activities that support the learning of their children… We don't want their children to miss out. More needs to be done to ensure that a child's education does not depend on the income of their parents."

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