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helenreed

State School Costs Ridiculous

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My son starts state secondary school in September and I cannot believe how much I will have to fork out.

The uniform (with logo) including sports kit will come to well over £200.00. The only items you can possibly buy elsewhere, i.e.not through the specialist school shop, are shirts and trousers.

On top of this all pupils have to purchase a laptop. My son already has a laptop but this is not acceptable. It has to be the one the school sells. The price of this laptop is £695.00!! Parents are advised that they can pay weekly or monthly if they cannot afford the whole amount in one go. They have kindly enclosed a direct debit form in the school pack. I've seen the school, they have loads of computers on site. Why the hell do I need to buy yet another one?

When did going to school become so expensive?

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How the hell can a school dictate the purchase of a school laptop? Looks like a stitch up to me. Seems a very dodgy state of affairs. Somebody must be making a killing somewhere - a decent spec laptop these days £300-£400

It's a mini-industry pushing up the costs of living for 'hard working British families'... though less and less are hard working these days.

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Don't under any circs buy their laptop. Use the schools free ones at school, and your own at home. Carry work on a memory stick. I was talking about this only last week to a teacher at a top rated local girls grammar. Lots of their girls do as I've suggested you do.

That school laptop scheme is an appalling rip off.

PS I had twins at the same school in my locality at the same time - this system would have been crippling on me.

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Yes, the laptop does sound a rip-off at £695. The only reason I can think they can justify this cost is:

1) They supply a known make/model pre-loaded with the standard software required for school. This will include a legal version of Windows XP or Vista etc and they may also install Microsoft Office and other applications and charge you the going rate for the applications and for installing/providing technical support. Microsoft Office is expensive to buy (although pupils/students do get a discount). Sun OpenOffice does the same job and is free, but the school will probably want all laptops configured in a specific way so it's easier to reconfigure/fix them if they break down.

2) Each laptop might be configured to be a client machine and to connect the the school LAN to access various other software as required. If this is the case you are paying the cost of the laptop and for a (possibly self-employed) IT guy to configure each laptop.

As other people have said, you can buy a good spec of laptop complete with Windows from £400. I would ask the make/model of the laptop they specify and see how much it costs online. You will then need to know what applications need to be installed and price how much these will cost. The school might allow you to source the same laptop and configure it yourself, if you are willing/able to do so. They are probably relying on the fact that most parents aren't that computer literate and they will just buy one from the school.

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Is it legal for the school to insist that you buy a £650 piece of kit from them?

Just what I was thinking. Sounds like a scam to me (probably involving Microsoft, the laptop manufacturer and the DOE).

I would approach the school and ask them to explain exactly why your existing laptop, running a standard operating system on standard hardware is not acceptable.

After all, Windows is Windows etc

If they can't/won't do this, or if they cite "commercial reasons" , tell them to go f*ck themselves.

Edited for clarity

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No way they can force you to buy their laptop, especially when it is so overpriced. Tell them to get stuffed and buy your own for half the price. They can't do anything.

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All this uniform and equipemnt must be bought from the school supplier is just a big con to make money for their mates who run the shops. More piggies feeding at the trough.

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My friends kids had laptops loaned to them by he school, they just had to pay a returnable deposit, any damage would be deducted from the deposit. The deposit was £400.

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My friends kids had laptops loaned to them by he school, they just had to pay a returnable deposit, any damage would be deducted from the deposit. The deposit was £400.

That's probably quite a good deal. Over the typical time a pupil spends in high school (say, four years) the laptop is likely to depreciate in value a lot more than the £400.

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At my school, most only bought the first blazer from the school supplier. The next blazer was generic and a parent sewed on the logo from the original blazer.

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Microsoft Office is expensive to buy (although pupils/students do get a discount).

MS Office Student and Home edition is 65 quid from Amazon, and includes 3 licenses so you could share the cost with two other kids. So, 20-odd quid each on top of a 400-quid spec laptop, and you're being charged 650. The support can't be 200 quid per pupil. Sounds like a complete rip-off.

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On top of this all pupils have to purchase a laptop. My son already has a laptop but this is not acceptable. It has to be the one the school sells. The price of this laptop is £695.00!!

I'm shocked at this. Why does an eleven year old need a laptop at school?

I would be tempted to ask, at what stage during you son's education to they intend to explain monopolies and why they are a bad thing?

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As a teacher I've never heard of such an idea. It goes without saying I think its a disgrace.

I feel uncomfartable that my school charges student £5 a year for D&T materials, but a laptop is rediculous.

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This school is in a league of its own. They sent out a letter saying parents could go down there tonight as the School Uniform Shop is open at 6 o'clock. I go down there with my son. I ask for the boys starter pack uniform (cash in my hand) and am told that I cannot buy it or even order it tonight. Is what I can do is make an appointment to come one day in the summer holidays to order it!!

Needless to say I had the obvious 'this is ridiculous' conversation and have just got home. No appointment made.

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That's probably quite a good deal. Over the typical time a pupil spends in high school (say, four years) the laptop is likely to depreciate in value a lot more than the £400.

Not if it only cost £400

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This school is in a league of its own. They sent out a letter saying parents could go down there tonight as the School Uniform Shop is open at 6 o'clock. I go down there with my son. I ask for the boys starter pack uniform (cash in my hand) and am told that I cannot buy it or even order it tonight. Is what I can do is make an appointment to come one day in the summer holidays to order it!!

Needless to say I had the obvious 'this is ridiculous' conversation and have just got home. No appointment made.

Is the school an academy by any chance?

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Going by the headed notepaper it is a 'Foundation School', 'A Specialist School in Business and Enterprise', 'Specialist Schools Trust - Excellence and Diversity', an 'Investor in People' and thank God a 'Healthy 'School'.

What a load of absolute tripe.

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Going by the headed notepaper it is a 'Foundation School', 'A Specialist School in Business and Enterprise', 'Specialist Schools Trust - Excellence and Diversity', an 'Investor in People' and thank God a 'Healthy 'School'.

What a load of absolute tripe.

Thats pretty standard. My school has about 10 stamps all in. And yes, it is a load of balls.

We are a healthy school, which means we only serve chips on a monday...

then roasties on a tuesday

potato squares on wednesdays

deep fried potato slices on thursdays

and so on...

Also Pizza is available every lunch time. Usual meal is Pizza and cake with custard. Very balanced.

Can you tell I'm getting cynical?

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No way they can force you to buy their laptop, especially when it is so overpriced. Tell them to get stuffed and buy your own for half the price. They can't do anything.

All very well saying that but this lady needs to be careful. Software costs and arm and a leg and most computers only come with basic stuff apart from the usual crap that is useless to most people.

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All very well saying that but this lady needs to be careful. Software costs and arm and a leg and most computers only come with basic stuff apart from the usual crap that is useless to most people.

MSDNAA ;)

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Just spoke to another mum who stayed on for the 'Introductory Evening' and apparently it all kicked off on the computer front. Loads of people complaining. One dad stood up and stated that as he already had 2 other siblings at the school with the 'approved' computers he was damned well not going to buy a third. Others stating job loss/wage cut situations and general we cannot afford it type rebels. By all accounts it was an angry crowd. Parents told that anyone not buying the 'approved' computer will not be able to access the school electricity supply.

Wish I hadn't walked off in anger at the uniform situation and stayed on.

Anyway I ain't buying their computer. He has one which my IT mate regularly updates and clears for me for free and I'll get a dongle so bUgger 'em.

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