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The Financial and Emotional Cost of The School Day
Dear parents and carers,
You will know that for some time we have been looking at how we can reduce the cost of sending your child to school. We began this work before Covid and it has picked up pace in the post-Covid recovery and the ongoing cost of living and inflation crisis.
When we talk about ‘cost’ we mean a few things. We are trying to reduce and minimise the financial cost of sending your child to school. Teachers have always planned trips and visits which they feel reinforce themed learning in class (& many parents say they want to see us provide more of these). But of course, inflation touches each element of such visits with transport costs rocketing and venue costs increasing too and that’s one of the reasons why we have reviewed trips and tried to increase the number of local, free visits where possible. Most school budgets are in such poor shape these days and we are unable to fund or part-fund any trips, much as we would like to. We have tried therefore to reduce the costs of trips and have extended the pay period before the trip to help families budget and pay by instalments as and when they can.
Another aspect of cost is the number of charities we support each year. We want to promote children’s kindness, compassion and generosity but not at parents’ expense so we’ve changed our language around facilitating donations rather than it being conditional (eg: £1 to wear non-uniform, as previously). ParentPay has been helpful in making donations less visible, inconspicuous and more private. We will support three causes each year, one local, one national and one international. We know there’s a cost to parents if we ask for an item of clothing that you do not have and we know there’s a cost to both your time and patience when you learn about specific requests with little notice. Future themed days will be more generic and simply ‘non uniform’ rather than specific dressing up. This will reduce cost and stress and ensure all children can feel included.
Earlier this year we opened our Swap Shop which has been a great success allowing every child to attend school in full uniform for a few pounds. For parents who are struggling, it’s OK to take now and pay when you can. Another great thing about the shop is that it also has other items such as trainers and sporting equipment which can allow a child to join a local club or activity which they might otherwise have been unable to.
Then there’s the ‘cost’ of coming to school for children. We’re really aware of how it feels if you don’t have the right uniform, if you don’t have a coat, if your shoes leak, if your trousers are ripped, if you don’t have dressing up clothes or if you are wearing uniform when everyone else is dressed up or in expensive costumes. We will work hard to make sure that children would never feel left out or different because of an activity we had planned or designed. We call this the emotional cost of the school day and it extends to parents too in how they feel when they are struggling to provide clothing or equipment but feel they have no other choice.
Raising the Attainment Of Disadvantaged Youngsters (RADY)
Over the past 12 months we have listened to concerns about the cost of living and endeavoured to offer greater support to all our learners and families. We have also started the RADY programme, a 2-year programme run by local consortia EAS with the support of Welsh Government. RADY aims to prioritise the needs of all our pupils but in particular, our most disadvantaged and vulnerable learners. The RADY approach will see us only participating in trips and events listed on our annual planner (below) and only engaging in events/special days that we have planned and informed you of well in advance. We also want our pupil teams and roles to be representative of all our school community. We appreciate how hard our community works and we hope that the steps we have taken, and will continue to take, help to make life a little easier for all our families.
If you struggle to meet any costs of a trip, please contact Mr Adams or me in strict confidence and we will do whatever we can to support you.
School Trip Planner 2023-24
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