The boys school holds a Scholastic book fair twice a year (They used to just send Red House catalogues home) and last week Maxi and Mini were exposed to the sort of retail pressure that no child should ever experience and I encountered the worst sort of emotional blackmail.
We are a book loving family, We regularly visit the library and the boys have lots of books and also read regularly. I have no issue with either of the boys bring home a catalogue and buying books for them and used to regularly buy from Red House and The Book People and still do, however, we have found Scholastic to be pretty expensive in comparison, but I still do buy if we can afford it and there is something suitable for the children.
The way it works is in addition to a catalogue being sent home, the school holds a fair with the books on display in the lower school hall and you can visit the fair with the children after school over a three day period. I had agreed with the boys that the fair was too close to the end of the month and that we didn’t need any additional books.
But the school felt it was appropriate to take all the children round the book fair during school time and let them browse the books, not only did they do that but they also encouraged them to write a wish list with three books on to present to their parents. The pressure didn’t end there. When I reiterated to Maxi that we would not be buying any books and that Mummy didn’t have any pennies, he informed me that he was told that if his parents didn’t have the money that he needed to take it from his piggy bank and if he didn’t but any books then the school would not get any new books and he would then be unable to have any reading books. To say I was horrified was an understatement. I was absolutely fuming.
I also found out that Mini had been taken round the fair, but as his teacher refused to write out wish lists for her pupils as most of the children in reception can not write, she felt it was a poor use of her time and also that is was unnecessary pressure of parents.
I have written to the head teacher expressing my concern over the unnecessary retail pressure they have intentionally exposed my children too and am awaiting a response.
It really seems as though I am spending more and more money at the school. I have to send in 50p a week for Mini for snack. School trips are becoming vastly expensive, the last one was £6.00. When you visit after a school play or event you are encouraged to buy back biscuits or cakes that you have provided along with refreshments. It seems that there are non-uniform days, dress up days and carious other days where the children have to pay to be out of uniform too.
I send my children to school to be educated and to learn to get on with other people, not to be exposed to these sorts of pressures at such an early age.