#2 came home from school today with a letter offering him a trip to Arthog for a week.
Arthog is an outdoor adventure centre in Snowdonia owned by Telford & Wrekin Council (our local authority) that’s used mainly by schools in Shropshire.
This trip costs £200 for 5 days – not the cheapest school trip but #1 went last year and had a great time. But what is unbelievable is that the letter says that any kids who are entitled to free school meals are also entitled to a free trip to Arthog, as are those whose parents are on income support. And how do they subsidise the kids whose parents aren’t paying? By charging more for the kids whose parents do pay. This is what they do with every school trip – the last few have come in at £8 and some of them started off lower and then went up when they’d worked out how many parents were prepared to pay.
Of course, with unemployment the way it is, there’s an increase in the number of genuine cases where people have lost their jobs and are on income support but there are a core of parents that don’t work – the ones that are often carrying carrier bags full of beer when they drop them off and pick their kids up – and refuse to pay for trips because the letter says the payment is voluntary (even though it says the trip may be cancelled if not enough pay) and brag about the fact.
The other day one of the kids brought home a letter saying the British government were going to pay for a computer and 12 months of broadband for anyone who is eligible for free school meals.
It’s a great wheeze this free school meals thing, it’s just a shame people who work for a living aren’t entitled to anything.