Concern that teachers’ gift-giving is becoming ‘over commercialised’

The Independent is reporting on gift-giving to teachers with concerns being expressed over expensive gifts and class-wide presents…

…Competitive parents who want to give the best present have raised the stakes in classrooms across the country. Teachers have reported being given strange and extravagant gifts including a Tiffany bracelet, £200 of opera house vouchers and a brace of pheasants.

Other extravagant presents included a Mulberry handbag, an Yves St Laurent scarf and gift vouchers worth £1000.

Concern has also been raised about the trend towards class-wide presents where every child is asked to contribute £5 or £10 towards one large gift from the whole class.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers warned that teachers gift-giving was becoming over commercialised and competitive and said that teachers’ most treasured gifts were cards or pictures made by pupils.

The ATL said the most popular gifts among staff were personalised items such as paintings done by a student of their teacher, or hand-made jewellery and cards…

The most common gift for teachers is chocolates, with 85 per cent of staff having received some, a survey for the union found. Other popular presents were flowers or plants, alcohol, toiletries and mugs. Most presents cost less than £5 and the vast majority less than £10.

Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of ATL, said: “Although most staff like getting presents from their pupils to show their hard work is appreciated, they don’t expect them. Staff certainly don’t want their pupils to feel they have to give presents and feel humiliated if they can’t afford to do so.

“Staff are just as delighted by a handmade gift or card – the thought really does count.”…

More at: Reports of presents including Tiffany bracelets and opera tickets leads to concern that teachers’ gift-giving is becoming ‘over commercialised’

No doubt the vast majority of gifts are modest and appropriate, but do schools need to set a clear policy for parents, making it clear, for example, that gifts are not necessary, home made is ideal and any costing above £5 will not be accepted? What do you think? Please share in the comments or via Twitter and take part in our poll…

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Categories: Parenting and Teaching.


  1. Busy Mum

    I don’t give out of principle. I only contribute a little towards leaving gifts if the member of staff is retiring or has been great for us as a family.

  2. darmonk1

    SchoolsImprove Quite right! The best “gift” is the smiling student who has enjoyed ones!s lessons and made progress (& passed exams?)

  3. HamdonEducation

    SchoolsImprove Social Services ban staff from receiving any gift other than small tokens. Why do schools allow (even encourage) it?

  4. Soarpoints

    HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove I’m pretty certain these most decadent gifts are given in independent sector not state so not same compare

  5. niallsmith1970

    HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove Almost all school gifts are “small” anyway. “Gifts Register” for gifts > £50 provides adequate regulation.

  6. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove because it’s nice to say thank you. My children enjoy giving their teachers a small gift.

  7. ellrhys

    HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove it’s nice to feel appreciated…especially from parents/students … As SLT can make you feel opposite!

  8. welshgje

    HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove Why not? If a parent or child want’s to show appreciation? We don’t get many perks.

  9. HamdonEducation

    niallsmith1970 SchoolsImprove £50?! You’re joking – or you live in Chelsea, not the real world.

  10. HamdonEducation

    msgwhizz SchoolsImprove Nothing wrong with a ‘small’ gift – say, home-made or under £1. Should be registered.

  11. HamdonEducation

    welshgje SchoolsImprove How dare you? Salary not enough for you. For perks, join a bank! The “perks” are working with children, surely?

  12. welshgje

    HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove And no – salary is not enough. When I have to pay over inflated prices for my holidays. Cretin@

  13. welshgje

    HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove And no – salary is not enough. When I have to pay over inflated prices for my holidays. Cretin@

  14. ellrhys

    HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove I agree – card will be highly regarded but surely it’s down to parental choice. In primary is OTT as …

  15. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation under £1? Really?? Wow, I feel a bit more grateful than that… what is your objection to gifts?

  16. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation I gave a box of chocolates to the builders who built my extension and the financial advisor to say thank you

  17. HamdonEducation

    msgwhizz Can be competitive; may tend to corrupt; many nowadays can’t afford them. Mainly it monetises a professional relationship.

  18. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation ah, so we shouldn’t thank public servants for the good work they do? So the chocs I gave to nurses are not good either?

  19. Soarpoints

    HamdonEducation you think? Are state school teachers really been given Tiffany’s rings, etc? I’ve not seen it to be honest.

  20. HamdonEducation

    msgwhizz Thank them – send a card. Why do we have to give people things? This is the public sector. Your carer is not allowed to take gifts

  21. welshgje

    HamdonEducation msgwhizz SchoolsImprove Did you never receive gifts as a teacher? You think I should log the boxes of chocolate I receive

  22. welshgje

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation ‘May tend to corrupt’? Lol. Found that amusing. My Star Wars tie didn’t corrupt me.

  23. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove ALL jobs have perks, not just a bank. Running an education consultancy offers perks I am sure

  24. HamdonEducation

    welshgje msgwhizz SchoolsImprove If you worked for Social Services, you would. Tell me the difference.

  25. welshgje

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove …and my computer socks? Oh and the Porsche I was given by one Dad. Ridiculous arguement.

  26. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove I don’t work for social services, that’s the difference. My gifts are from children.

  27. HamdonEducation

    msgwhizz welshgje SchoolsImprove Why should teachers be so desperate to validate themselves with presents? Strange priorities.

  28. welshgje

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove Massive difference between a teacher perk and a banker perk. Box of chocs compared to £xxx

  29. welshgje

    HamdonEducation msgwhizz SchoolsImprove Hardly desperate. Why are you so desperate to argue against it? It’s a sml token of appreciation

  30. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove well if my value is some chocolates and wine, I’ll take that….

  31. msgwhizz

    welshgje HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove I think he may be a little jealous that he is no longer receiving gifts in the classroom…

  32. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove I am interested why you think this is a priority in education currently?

  33. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove and why you would alienate teachers and school leaders who I assume would use your services

  34. HamdonEducation

    msgwhizz welshgje SchoolsImprove Currently, 1 in 4 ch live in poverty. By 2020, 1 in 3. None shd feel a present for teacher is a priority

  35. HamdonEducation

    msgwhizz welshgje SchoolsImprove And as a governor, I’ve a duty to ensure no child feels disadvantaged by poverty.

  36. HamdonEducation

    msgwhizz welshgje SchoolsImprove And I believe in fair & ethical behaviour (like many trs who support this), whoever is ‘alienated’.

  37. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove absolutely – a teacher present isn’t a priority and they are not expected.

  38. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove so letting people give gifts if they want to is fair in my eyes. It is not unethical.

  39. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove as a governor, I think there are more important things to worry about that may cause poverty…

  40. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove what do you think the most common gift is that teachers receive?

  41. welshgje

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove I don’t care what one pompus misery guts thinks. Kids enjoy showing appreciation. They are happy.

  42. welshgje

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove With your thinking we would cancel Christmas and birthdays to make it fair and equal.

  43. welshgje

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove Yes, let’s cancel my kids birthday parties just in case someone cannot buy a present. Get a grip!

  44. welshgje

    HamdonEducation msgwhizz SchoolsImprove I don’t ask for nor expect a gift. Have you been a teacher? You have not said.

  45. HamdonEducation

    welshgje msgwhizz SchoolsImprove I taught in v. disadvantaged parts of London, midlands & headship in the north. Few ch cd afford gifts.

  46. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove did you appreciate the gifts you got? We’re the children excited to see you open them?

  47. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove did you make sure you made a fuss over the kids that didn’t give gifts too?

  48. HamdonEducation

    msgwhizz welshgje SchoolsImprove So we disagree. Not the end of the world. I’ve said what I believe & don’t judge anyone. Bless you both.

  49. msgwhizz

    HamdonEducation welshgje SchoolsImprove it’s hard to understand why this is such an important issue to you….

  50. Xanielew

    HamdonEducation msgwhizz b’cos he sees point from a normal parent, I can’t afford prosecco & £50 gvs (given at my son’s state school)…

  51. Xanielew

    HamdonEducation msgwhizz Don’t agree with total ban but heads should warn that inappropriate gifts should be returned.

  52. msgwhizz

    Xanielew HamdonEducation but teachers do not EXPECT anything and there will always be competition – I just don’t compete.

  53. Xanielew

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation £50 gvs, alcohol (it’s not from the kids is it? They don’t choose or buy it!) I think it should be child bought.

  54. Xanielew

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation I just think a child choosing a book mark, small soap, notebook or mug means more & stop competitive parents.

  55. Xanielew

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove & what about other staff? Cleaning, lunch, office, premises etc – do they not deserve a reward?

  56. msgwhizz

    Xanielew HamdonEducation the other staff are bought presents by the school and other teachers where I work. Also, many kids by for TA too

  57. msgwhizz

    Xanielew HamdonEducation perhaps some people WANT to buy that for the teachers. No-one has to compete – EVER…

  58. Xanielew

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation TAs get lots too. It’s the behind the scenes staff I was thinking of. At Xmas we make cakes for the staff room.

  59. msgwhizz

    Xanielew HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove and what about the gifts I buy for 26 children in my class….? I don’t have too but I like too.

  60. Xanielew

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation I don’t care what others do, I do what I feel is deserved, I know others that feel the pressure to conform tho.

  61. Xanielew

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove good for you. It’s a lovely thing to do & kids love it. But do you spend £20+ per child?

  62. Xanielew

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove I’m not saying no gifts & don’t want to take away from good teachers that deserve it…….

  63. Xanielew

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove but feel gifts should be a small token. 1 teacher helped my boy so much last year we took …

  64. Xanielew

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove her a bunch if flowers. She knew it meant something because we weren’t handing them out to all.

  65. Xanielew

    msgwhizz HamdonEducation yep. I agree but standing in the PG surrounded by parents with arms of gifts is hard, I don’t care, others do.

  66. msgwhizz

    Xanielew HamdonEducation but i think that is just life – some will always feel pressure to conform in lots of situations….

  67. msgwhizz

    Xanielew HamdonEducation SchoolsImprove no, I spend about what I feel I can afford each time, like I do on others…

  68. msgwhizz

    Xanielew HamdonEducation thing is, I have never worked anywhere with extravagant gift givers. Flowers, wine, chocs and soap are the norm

  69. msgwhizz

    Xanielew HamdonEducation some parents club together to buy vouchers at the school I work in but other than that it’s all the usuals.

  70. msgwhizz

    Xanielew HamdonEducation I think some will always care what others think…. I see that as there problem really… like you, I don’t mind

Let us know what you think...