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Does your school issue refunds after school trips?

Discussion in 'School trips' started by Nanouche, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. Nanouche

    Nanouche New commenter

    I run a school trip every year and organise everything myself. I usually largely overestimate cost to plan for any potential problems. Up to know at the end of the trip I have refunded parents with the surplus.
    This year again a considerable amount of money is left in the budget. I was planning refunds but the Head has now informed me that the money will be kept to cover "staffing cost".
    I feel this is very wrong and wonder if anyone had had a similar situation or maybe knew of any rule regarding this? ( a previous year I had to do a ridiculous amount of paperwork to refund £3 per child because we weren't allowed to keep the money....).
  2. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    What does 'plan for any potential problems' mean?

    This is not my area but I did find the following guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...ile/514619/Charging_for_school_activities.pdf
    Is this an 'optional extra' (pg 5 of the document)? If so, I don't think that the Head can keep this unless those 'staffing costs' are part of the initial costings. Which costs do you overestimate [I think that this is important]?

    Apologies if that guidance isn't accurate or is not what you are looking for.
  3. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    Sounds to me that it is the parents' money which they have paid into a fund so their children can participate.

    Money left in the fund after the activity is still, rightfully, the parents' and if I were one of them, I would press the school for repayment.

    And, by "press", I mean "be prepared to make a very large fuss if necessary".
  4. Camokidmommy

    Camokidmommy Established commenter

    I don't believe you are allowed to make a profit from a school trip, or similar. Costings need to take into account all children and adults who will attend along with insurance if needed and transport...

    Divide by children attending and that is what each pays. I believe that all contributions are 'voluntary ' but that may well be different with academies.

    That was always my understanding along with that fact that if some parents did not pay school had to fund the remainder.

    As a small school we have had to cancel trips because so few parents pay and we simply cannot cover costs.

    As an aside, I once had a parent of twins ask if she needed to pay for both her children. I said that I presumed she would be expecting them to both go, so, yes!
    They were a very wealthy family...made me chuckle quietly.
  5. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

    Camokidmommy is absolutely right, you are not allowed to make a profit from trips.

    I do believe you are entitled to factor in costs such as admin time for arranging the trip etc. but I don't know the actual rule on this.

    The right thing to do is to give the parents the refund but sometimes that is hassle for the office staff :p
  6. Nanouche

    Nanouche New commenter

    Thanks for that document it is really helpful. I absolutely want to refund the families I just needed a bit of backing up.
  7. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    We had to include staffing costs in the budgeting for trips. After an analysis of a large sample of trips and the supply required we came up with an average cost of £15 per lesson hour that required cover. This took into account that quite a lot of lessons were covered by school cover supervisors and so incurred no additional cost to the school. The effect on costs of trips was actually quite small. Surpluses on trips were usually left to the discretion of the person running the trip. Some used them to top up their capitation. Some would donate the surplus into a fund to pay for reward trips. Sometimes a surplus may get used to make up for a shortfall on a precious trip. Occasionally a refund may be made such as when the coach company made such a c*ck up on pick up times/breakdowns etc that they refunded the coach cost.
  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    precious = previous!
  9. skeptucator

    skeptucator Occasional commenter

    Yes - any excess in the fund over 99p per student gets refunded back to parents. I don't have to fill in that much paperwork though... our admin staff take care of it as it is an admin job. It sounds like the procedures in place (or not so) are failing you.

    I do agree that any excess should be returned to parents, I know of colleagues who if it hasn't been used by the end of the trip put it towards a treat like an ice cream for each child and so on... not sure how I feel about that.
  10. ablench

    ablench New commenter

    My previous school had a school trips policy (approved by the governing body) which described the rules for surplus income from school trips and how it should be dealt with. This stated that surpluses below a certain amount per pupil would be retained by the school to fund futire trips. I can remember the exact amoynt but it wasn't too high. Anything above the amount would be paid back to the parents, administerd by the finance officer. Having an approved and freely available policy saves any ambiguity in these events as everyone, including parents, can know in advance what the rules are. I agree that an amount for cover costs should be factored into the charge we ask of parents right from the start. Let me know if you want me to share the policy wording with you. I think I can locate it by contacting some from my last school!

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