My nine-year-old son looks at me anxiously. “Mum, you definitely, definitely have my sponsor money plus an extra pound, which I need for the fundraising games. We have to bring it in today.” Mum and journalist, Louise Tickle writes in The Guardian.
Cake sale, plant sale, ticket for a pamper evening, music quiz, another cake sale, school disco (with associated plastic tat and penny sweets on sale), pay to see Santa, raffle for the chocolate hamper (that you’ve already sent in the goddamn chocolate for), dress up for World Book Day (that’s a quid), go pink for breast cancer research (that’s two quid) and why not run a sponsored mile for Sport Relief while you’re at it.
Welcome to summer term, peak time for school fundraising – and what feels like a constant assault. Let’s put aside my irritation at being “chugged” via leaflets in book-bags and my mobile phone, in principle it’s a good thing for kids to think about the needs of people other than themselves, so I’ll swallow official charity fundraisers on that basis, even if those charities might not be my personal choice.
What is outrageous, though, is the assumption in some schools that parents can easily afford to donate on a virtually weekly basis, and the idea that we should expect to be paying on top of our taxes for our children’s state education.
Schools, suffering the terrible results of the government’s austerity policies, have cut to the chase and are now pumping parents for regular direct debits to cover essentials. But is asking parents to pay doing pupils’ education any good?
The state should be buying our children’s pencils and exercise books, and whatever else they need for the curriculum. And schools that are trying to paper over deepening financial cracks by fundraising for these basic items are letting the government off the hook.
It’s easy to see how it happens. Headteachers are practical people. They want to do the best by their pupils, so they’re trying every which way to mitigate depleting budgets. Many schools are running deficits of hundreds of thousands of pounds. And so PTA funds, I’ve been told by some headteachers, are being called upon to pay for reading schemes, textbooks, art and technology materials, revision guides, stationery items and other essentials.
Read the full article The UK has turned the right to education into a charitable cause. How 19th century
Are you fed up with your school’s constant fund raising? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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