Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Oct 10, 2016

School Trips Becoming Too Expensive for Parents

School trips are part and parcel of school life. We all remember going on residential visits with school. I know I do. When I was 11, my entire Year 6 class flew to Switzerland for a week and we had a fabulous time learning about glaciers and listening to the cow bells jingle in the early mornings. I am sure my parents probably had to scrimp and scrape to be able to afford the trip, but they managed and I was lucky enough to go.

A Once in a Lifetime Experience

That was an exceptional trip, a once in a lifetime experience, and something I still remember many years later. Back then, trips like this were a rarity and were often subsidised by the school. These days it is becoming increasingly common for schools to organise prohibitively expensive field trips for students. Parents often have to borrow the money to pay for the trip (for more information about the latest loan rates, click the link), but a survey carried out two years ago has found that many parents are saying they cannot afford the cost of school trips.

Examination Course Field Trips

The older your child is, the more likely they are to be asked to go on field trips as part of their examination course. Some subjects, for example geography, expect students to conduct research out in the field. This type of educational trip is a valuable part of the course, but the problem is that many parents cannot afford to pay and are discouraging their child to take the subject, even if they are interested in doing so.

Schools are even asking parents to fund other, non-essential field trips to museums, art galleries and the theatre. Music lessons also fall into this category. To study music, students usually have to play an instrument, which means parents have to pay for lessons, instrument hire, and examinations. The cost of this can be exorbitant.

Expensive Foreign Trips

The cost of educational trips to foreign countries is also on the rise. It is not uncommon for parents to be asked to find £1,000 or more to pay for a trip abroad. For many families, this represents their budget for a family holiday, so if the child is allowed to go, nobody else gets a holiday that year.

For kids with two parents who both earn a good living, paying for school trips and educational extras is not a problem, but if a child comes from a single parent family subsisting on benefits or a low income, the cost is prohibitive. Consequently, it is not surprising that many parents say they can’t afford it and refuse to let their child participate. Expensive field trips are simply not accessible for many parents.

There is very little parents can do if the school asks them to fund an expensive field trip for their child, other than say no. Some schools have a hardship fund, which is designed to subsidise children from poorer families, but if you both work, you probably won’t qualify for assistance.

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