I get that this seems to be turning into an annual moan about my children's primary school but what can I say? It just seems to get to me more and more as each year passes.
I've moaned about the price of school dinners, the stresses of World Book Day and how we dealt with racist bullying.
This term I will be mostly moaning about the cost of school trips.
I have three children in primary school. Its a state school, not a private school but it seems that just about every other day I have a letter about one trip or another and the cost associated with it.
I'm not a mean parent. I like that fact that my children get to experience lots of different things. Its the way that the school goes about it that really gets me.
Take last week for example.
Sonny came home from school with a letter outlining the payment plan - yes payment plan for his year six trips.
Trip to an art gallery - £6.10
Visit to a Hindu temple - £3.00
Cycle proficiency - £15.00
Trip to a Warning Zone (?) - £9.35
Oct 7th payment for June residential trip £60
Oct 28th payment for June residential trip £60
Nov 25th payment for June residential trip £53.45
27th Jan payment for June residential trip £60
24th Feb payment for June residential trip £60
23rd Mar payment for June residential trip £60
That little lot totals £386.90 + the £100 deposit that I paid last last term for the June 2012 residential trip, giving me a grand total of £486.90.
Then late last week he came home with a letter outlining how 'all year 5 and 6 children have been given the amazing opportunity to take part in the Young Voices Concert at Birmingham's NIA in December'.
Both Sonny and Biba (who's in year 5) said that they didn't want to do it and so the letter went straight into the recycling.
It's not that simple it seems as I've had the school music teacher hunting me down for permission slips. When she grabbed me in the playground and I explained that they didn't want to do it I was told that it wasn't optional and that I had to return the permission the next day.
The Young Voices Concert is great, but its 50 miles away, in Birmingham, on a school night and they will miss swimming and dancing classes that I've already paid for.
Then for the guilt trip.
"Of course you will want to come along to support your children, tickets can be bought from the school office and are £15 each. Young Voices T-Shirts for the children taking part can also be purchased at £9 each."
So that's £15 each for Yan and I and an additional £15 for Betty (who should be at home in bed) + £18 for two t-shirts and £30 petrol and +? for parking.
The concert ends at 9.15pm but we have to collect the children from school so we'll arrive home at around 10.45pm - if we are lucky and then we will have to face a huge battle to get them out of bed and out of the house in order to catch the school bus the next morning.
Not my idea of fun.
So Sonny's trip total for the year has now topped £500, no doubt Biba and Betty's will do the same. Its a lot of money that many people just haven't budgeted for.
Am I alone in this, or does the same thing happen at your child's school?