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Pupils’ holiday trip in doubt over cost row

PUBLISHED: 18:00 07 July 2012

Hilldene Primary School

Hilldene Primary School

Archant

»A school could be forced to cancel its annual holiday trip for pupils because a parent is challenging the cost.

Parents of pupils at Hilldene Primary in Grange Road, Harold Hill, fear children may miss out on next year’s year six trip to the Isle of Wight.

Parent Susan Pearson said: “My daughter is upset about it and I think it would be a shame if the trip was cancelled just because of one person.”

Letters

Parents received letters from the school last month detailing the five-day trip for the Little Canada activity centre on the Isle of Wight in 2013.

The cost of the trip is £250 with the school subsidising the transport of the trip, which otherwise would have taken the charge to £400.

Parents were asked to pay a £50 deposit in June, then four payments of £50 spread throughout the year.

But two weeks later they received a letter saying a challenge was being made by a parent about the charging arrangements.

One mother-of-three, who did not want to be named, said: “We all want our kids to go and they are excited about it, but it is one person who is spoiling it for the rest of us.”

Parents were told by the school that as a result of this challenge and the likelihood that other parents may also wish to request either a “free” place or only be willing to make a contribution towards board and lodgings’ costs, it has had to reassess how it can meet the expenses for the trip.

It now has four options. To ask for the voluntary £250 contribution; ask £178.20 for board and lodgings; move the trip to summer half-term next year when the school is permitted to charge for children to attend or cancel the visit and seek other options.

The school says it has always asked parents for a set amount for residential visits which it subsidises like other schools in Havering.

‘Shame’

Susan said: “I am a single parent and I have still managed to pay my deposit.

“The best thing is to leave the trip as it is, none of the other options are suitable, by reducing the price of the trip it will mean that the school will have to pay the difference.”

The parents are due to find out today (Friday) if the trip will go ahead, but fear that if it is cancelled it would affect other trips.

Mother-of-five Tracey Reed said: “They have always done the trip to the Isle of Wight. It would be a shame if they had to cancel it because of one person.”

A spokesman for Hilldene School said it is in discussions to ensure that the trip can continue in the future.


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