The Independent is reporting that concerns that schools are breaching guidelines by charging parents for field trips that are central to exam courses – leading to fears that children from poor families are opting not to study geography and biology…
A survey of 2,500 parents revealed that more than a third of those with children over the age of 11 have been required to pay for field trips that are compulsory parts of assessed courses.
Many of the trips take place during the school day – meaning state schools are breaching government guidelines by asking parents to cover the cost.The study by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) also found that 91 per cent of parents had been asked to contribute for any sort of school trip – including outings to museums, theatres or nature reserves.
Almost half of parents paid more than £50 per child over the past year to enable participation, with one in 20 paying more than £500 a year. Nearly a quarter of children over 11 years old were unable to participate in educational trips due to the cost.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “There is no doubt that access to education for an increasing number is based on parents’ ability to pay…”
The Department for Education warned that it was against the law for state schools to charge pupils for elements of a course required by the curriculum.
Official guidance states that schools “cannot charge for education provided on any visit that takes place during school hours – or education provided on any visit that takes place outside school hours if it is part of the national curriculum or part of a syllabus for a prescribed public examination.”
Schools are allowed to charge for board and lodging for residential trips, but the charge must not exceed the actual cost…
How widespread do you think this is and, if schools can’t charge, how will they make the sums add up? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!